Bulldogs resume practice; tour Jacksonville's Naval Station Mayport

Mississippi State faces Louisville on Dec. 30.

Posted: Dec 27, 2017 9:50 PM
Updated: Dec 27, 2017 11:06 PM

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Mostly sunny skies greeted Mississippi State football Wednesday as the Bulldogs returned to the practice field in preparation for a Dec. 30 matchup against Louisville in the 2017 TaxSlayer Bowl.

MSU worked out for less than two hours on the campus of the University of North Florida, the squad’s second practice since arriving in Jacksonville on Christmas night.

The Bulldogs then made the short trek to the Naval Station Mayport, taking in Jacksonville’s rich military history.

Upon arrival at the base, the team was welcomed with a barbecue lunch before splitting into two groups to tour the USS Farragut DDG 99 destroyer and an amphibious carrier ship. Tours were led by active-duty military that shared their deployment experiences and their individual duties aboard the ship. The Bulldogs also learned about the artillery and specialized equipment housed on board.

MSU will hold their final bowl practice on Thursday morning and spend the afternoon at Topgolf Jacksonville. The Bulldogs battle Louisville at 11 a.m. CT/12 p.m. ET Saturday in the TaxSlayer Bowl from EverBanks Field. The contest will be televised live on ESPN.

Below are quotes from interim defensive coordinator Ron English and defensive end Jeffery Simmons’ media session following Wednesday’s practice.

Interim Defensive Coordinator Ron English

On facing Lamar Jackson…

“I told the guys that I’ve coached against a lot guys out west in the Pac 12, the Big 10 and all over. This guy is more elusive than Reggie Bush in college. Nobody can tackle the guy. He can kind of do what he wants. I don’t think anybody compares to him. I really don’t.”

On his first message to the team after taking over as interim defensive coordinator…

“That we had done well. We had really changed the mentality a little bit. I thought that coach [Todd] Grantham did a great job, and really the whole staff, in just instilling the confidence in these players. When you go from being that bad on defense to turning it around, it’s not only what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it. I thought our guys did a nice job of that. My message was ‘you finished 25th in run defense. I think you finished 13th in passing yards allowed and 10th in total yards allowed, but nobody is going to remember that if you don’t play well in this last game.’ That was the message.”

On other offensive weapons on Louisville team…

“First of all, they are offensive coaches. I’ve coached at Louisville. I’ve known coach [Bobby] Petrino for a while, not personally but as a person in the profession that you follow. He’s one of the top play callers in the country. I think he’ll know what you’re doing defensively and will have answers for it. That means they are going to be able to coach them up and execute. That’s always an issue when you play a Petrino coached team. He’s going to expose your weaknesses. If you’re disciplined or undisciplined, he will attack that, and he’ll attack people. Louisville is scoring a lot of points. I think they are averaging 39 points a game. There’s a whole bunch of guys that you’ve got to try and slow down a bit. That’s what we’ll try to do.”

DE Jeffery Simmons

On the team’s focus…

“We’ve had two great practices. Everybody is locked in, especially with all the changes around here. I think Coach [Greg] Knox is doing a great job keeping everybody focused. I feel that everybody is on the right track, and we’re down here to win this game. I think we’re heading in the right direction.”

On slowing down Lamar Jackson…

“Everybody knows that is the focus. You have a Heisman Trophy candidate for two years in a row. He won it last year. We know right now that he’s the head of the snake. That’s the head of their team. Our job is not to take anybody out. Our job is to contain this guy. We know he is a dangerous player. Especially the defensive line, we just have to get after him.”

On earning All-SEC honors alongside Montez Sweat…

“It means a lot. The coaches said this is the first time its happen for two defensive linemen [at Mississippi State}. Sweat and I give our honor to our teammates, especially the defensive line. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be capable of pushing ourselves all season. It’s just a team thing.”

On his relationship with Montez Sweat…

“It’s close, especially on the field. Right before a play, we look at each other. We have that connection of ‘let’s go get this sack.’ Either he’s going to get pressure, or I’m going to get pressure. When I’m getting double teamed, he’s going to go. When the guard slides out to help us out, I’m going to try to get pressure. It’s just a thing we have together right now. We’re just trying to keep building. We can just look at each other, we don’t even have to say anything. We just hit each other’s hands and be like ‘let’s go.’

On the defensive improvement starting up front…

“Everyone knows that the game, especially in the SEC, is going to be won in the trenches. You’ve got top talent on the offensive line. You’ve got top talent on the defensive line. Whoever plays the best, the hardest and the longest is going to win.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 255125

Reported Deaths: 5574
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17197175
Hinds16280322
Harrison13502193
Rankin10749211
Jackson10407183
Lee8819141
Madison8262162
Jones6375110
Forrest5992119
Lauderdale5873180
Lowndes5381116
Lafayette496692
Lamar487565
Washington4800123
Bolivar3978108
Oktibbeha393880
Panola370779
Pontotoc365353
Monroe3543105
Warren353498
Union344760
Marshall342665
Neshoba3383152
Pearl River329799
Leflore3004105
Lincoln297685
Sunflower284969
Hancock273459
Tate272462
Alcorn264053
Pike263577
Itawamba262959
Scott246645
Yazoo245955
Prentiss245652
Copiah241949
Tippah241750
Simpson235767
Coahoma233754
Leake231164
Grenada218470
Covington213071
Marion212072
Adams205870
Wayne201331
Winston200564
George199338
Attala193759
Newton192842
Tishomingo186359
Chickasaw183944
Jasper170835
Holmes168767
Clay159433
Stone143621
Tallahatchie141034
Clarke138960
Calhoun136121
Smith120823
Yalobusha117034
Walthall112336
Noxubee110522
Greene110229
Montgomery109634
Carroll104521
Lawrence102617
Perry102231
Amite98025
Webster92424
Tunica86721
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis84825
Humphreys83024
Benton81823
Kemper77220
Quitman6918
Franklin66615
Choctaw60513
Wilkinson58425
Jefferson54319
Sharkey43017
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 424028

Reported Deaths: 6121
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62258921
Mobile30381549
Madison27160186
Tuscaloosa20779267
Montgomery19049305
Shelby18572114
Baldwin16346182
Lee12515101
Morgan12260113
Etowah11757168
Calhoun11161200
Marshall10199107
Houston8630148
Cullman8036105
Limestone802874
Elmore7849101
DeKalb768897
Lauderdale760083
St. Clair7555120
Talladega6180108
Walker5903174
Jackson581341
Colbert533573
Blount530883
Autauga519855
Coffee443956
Dale398581
Franklin367548
Chilton337665
Russell331710
Covington327768
Escambia319342
Dallas303396
Chambers284269
Clarke282133
Tallapoosa2617107
Pike249429
Marion246250
Lawrence244247
Winston227335
Bibb216247
Geneva202535
Marengo199729
Pickens197031
Hale176442
Barbour173036
Butler170258
Fayette169026
Cherokee160530
Henry154421
Monroe145617
Randolph140735
Washington137726
Clay126745
Crenshaw119544
Lamar118219
Cleburne117723
Macon115035
Lowndes110735
Wilcox103121
Bullock99128
Perry97719
Conecuh94420
Sumter89126
Greene76123
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
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