Mississippi State Spring Practice Preview: Defense

Initial Spring Outlook

The Mississippi State defense went through a transition in 2011 – going from the attacking style of Manny Diaz to the read-and-react style of Chris Wilson. There were some growing pains because of inexperience at certain positions; the defense eventually came together, as the year progressed.

The Bulldogs did lose some key defensive pieces: Fletcher Cox, Charles Mitchell, and Brandon Wilson. This spring, Wilson will try to replace those players and further acclimate the defense to the read-and-react scheme.

Five Burning Pre-Spring Questions

1. Will Denico Autry be the “Real Deal”?

2. Who will replace Fletcher Cox?

3. Who will win the third Linebacker job?

4. Can Darius Slay supplant Corey Broomfield?

5. Who replaces Charles Mitchell?

Key Spring Defensive Battles

There are several positions that will be up for grabs during Spring Practice. Here is a quick breakdown of the positions up for grabs and the players competing for the spots. I will have a full breakdown of the position battles on The Real Story website www.realstorypublishing.com.

 2nd Defensive Tackle

Candidates

Curtis Virges 6’ 3”, 290 (RF)

Quay Evans 6’ 2”, 315 (F)

P.J. Jones 6’ 2”, 275 (Sph)

Devin Jones 6’ 2”, 260 (RSr)

Dwayne Cherrington  6’3”, 325 (Sr)

Third Linebacker

Candidates

Chris Hughes 6’ 1”, 225 (J)

Ferlando Bohanna 5’ 11”, 225 (RSph)

Christian Holmes 6’ 0”, 230 (RSph)

Matt Wells 6’ 2”, 215 (RSph)

Benardrick McKinney 6’ 4”, 240 (RF)

Boundary Cornerback

Candidates

Corey Broomfield (5’10 180 Redshirt Senior )

Darius Slay (6’1 188 Senior)

2nd Safety

Candidates

Kendrick Market 5’ 10”, 185 (RF)

Jay Hughes 5’ 11”, 185 (RSph)

Dee Arrington 6 ’1”, 205 (Sph)

Zack Jackson 6’ 1”, 203 (RF)

(Key: F – Freshman; RF – Redshirt Freshman; Sph – Sophomore; RSph – Redshirt Sophomore; J – Junior; RJ – Redshirt Junior; Sr – Senior; RSr – Redshirt Senior)

 Final Spring Outlook

The Bulldog defense certainly has several questions to answer, heading into Spring Practice. The defense should answer those questions during Spring Practice – unlike the offense, which will have several unanswered questions until the season starts.

Jeremiah Short covers Mississippi State University football and basketball.  Follow him on Twitter, @JeremiahShort26; join his Facebook blog, Real Story Sports: J.Short’s Blog, or e-mail him, JShort@realstorypublishing.com.

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