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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: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
Coahoma3957100
Newton370875
Grenada3556104
Stone350860
Tishomingo336289
Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 789054

Reported Deaths: 14022
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1115991765
Mobile708511234
Madison49865633
Shelby36274315
Baldwin36242495
Tuscaloosa33931548
Montgomery33190678
Lee22680220
Calhoun21211410
Morgan19816335
Etowah19300462
Marshall17680274
Houston16823386
St. Clair15442305
Cullman14602258
Limestone14581188
Elmore14480264
Lauderdale13520281
Talladega12958236
DeKalb12199237
Walker10588330
Blount9720157
Autauga9667137
Jackson9385158
Coffee8882175
Dale8609173
Colbert8534184
Tallapoosa6673181
Escambia6591121
Covington6452167
Chilton6385144
Russell607255
Franklin5795101
Chambers5416134
Marion4800120
Dallas4705189
Clarke463279
Pike462397
Geneva4413117
Winston425895
Lawrence4117108
Bibb409381
Barbour347270
Marengo326285
Monroe320053
Butler318290
Randolph305956
Pickens305274
Henry301858
Hale292685
Cherokee289855
Fayette279673
Washington245448
Crenshaw238470
Cleburne235851
Clay228565
Macon220158
Lamar197743
Conecuh182046
Lowndes170758
Coosa170235
Wilcox159736
Bullock149243
Perry136537
Sumter124536
Greene121443
Choctaw73427
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Little bits and pieces of low pressure move back into our area over the next several days. This will bring back into our weather forecast some more chances for some isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms.
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