Mississippi State

Mississippi State O-line adjusting to SEC play

Mississippi State wide receiver Gabe Myles (35) celebrates with offensive lineman Justin Senior (58) after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Mississippi State wide receiver Gabe Myles (35) celebrates with offensive lineman Justin Senior (58) after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) AP

Coming into the season, Mississippi State was dealing with three new starters on the offensive line and the left tackle, Rufus Warren, was getting his first real action at a new position.

Five games into the 2015 season have shown a lot about MSU's offensive linemen and their coach expects more.

The Bulldogs have blocked two of the toughest defensive lines in the country in LSU and Texas A&M with mixed results. Offensive line coach John Hevesy wants to see more out of his unit moving forward and it could be the difference between winning and losing.

MSU's offense has been hit or miss this season and scoring points hasn't always come easy. A lot of it depends on whether or not the offensive line has been able to execute. With an almost entirely new offensive front, the learning curve is still playing out.

Hevesy believes that the difference in the game relies on the execution up front and it was a key factor in MSU's 30-17 loss last week at Texas A&M.

"We've got to get better. We've got to make a play," Hevesy said. "We had about four or five opportunities to make a play and we win the game and we didn't make a play. It's as simple as that."

Injuries piled up in College Station last week, including Warren going down and coming out of the game in the fourth quarter. With head coach Dan Mullen calling Warren's potential of playing Saturday questionable, Hevesy wants freshman Elgton Jenkins to be ready. He doesn't believe Warren's injury is serious, however.

"I think Rufus is fine. He was practicing (Wednesday) so nothing changes," Hevesy said. "If anything, it just moves Elgton up to get more reps in a game. It's nothing that I'm worried about. If I can use him, I can use him."

A redshirt freshman from Clarksdale, Jenkins had a strong spring and summer and has been praised by Hevesy. His work in practice has put him in the rotation and Hevesy has been adamant about giving him snaps in big moments already this year.

With the freshman being the possible future at left tackle, his development is key.

"He's learning the game," Hevesy said. "It's a lot different than practice. Adjustments are going to happen a lot quicker and faster. It's him trusting what he sees in practice is what he's going to see in a game. If we have to go 10 miles per hour, he's going about eight and a half. He's got to get that mile and a half faster."

Most of the offensive line is working up to SEC speed that's required including redshirt freshman Deion Calhoun who's receiving snaps at right guard. Everyone has to be ready for their number to be called. That's why the line coach has made sure that his unit is prepared for any situation.

"We've always had that philosophy of getting them in early," Hevesy said. "If we have to play them in a game, I don't want to wait until three minutes left in the fourth quarter and not have any idea of what's going on. At least they've been hit and have seen what's going on. We keep catching them up to speed."

  Comments