I talked with Landon Young of Maroon and White Nation about the upcoming Alabama-Miss State game. Check out the other half of our exchange over on their site here.
1. The Mike Leach offense seems to look a little bit more in sync every single year, and is starting to look downright dangerous. What’s led to it being more effective in 2022 than we saw in 2021?
- The running attack. Dillon Johnson, who is injured and may not play on Saturday, has changed the way defenses approach the Bulldog’s offense. Mike Leach has incorporated the run into the Air Raid and it is dangerous when everything is clicking.
2. Does Will Rogers have a PhD yet? (I’m totally setting you up to make a joke about surgically carving up a pass defense)
- HA! I love a good setup. I thought the kid was graduating with honors after the Arkansas game, but after last weekend’s loss against Kentucky, I’m worried he’s failing a few of those “carving defense” classes.
3. Miss State has about a million receivers with a decent number of catches. Give me two names at that position that you think are most likely to make a big play this weekend.
- Rara Thomas and Caleb Ducking. Typically, they line up on opposite ends and they’ll be the guys to catch deep balls rather than “dink and dunk” passes.
4. What’s your favorite Mike Leach quote so far this year? He hasn’t really gotten any to go viral yet, but I imagine there’s been some good ones for the local fans.
- Coffee. Check this out:
"Coffee tastes terrible anyway... just put it down one sip at a time."— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 8, 2022
Your weekly life advice from @Coach_Leach @MartySmithESPN pic.twitter.com/oCC1IoNIhZ
5. Defensively, the Bulldogs seem to be doing generally well all around, but nothing too spectacular. What can you tell us about their scheme, and what position group is giving you the most trouble (and which is doing the best)?
- It’s a unique version of the 3-3-5 defense, and it is very much bend don’t break. We have some talented players in every position group, but they are all susceptible to getting burned, specifically the defensive backs and safeties.
6. Man, you drew Kentucky and Georgia from the East, AND managed to get Alabama after a loss (yet again). What football gods did State manage to anger for that string of luck?
- Easy answer. Mississippi State sold its soul for a baseball national championship in 2021.
7. Speaking of Alabama losing, I’m interested to hear what your rooting interests were in the Alabama-Tennessee game last week. How did you feel about the whole thing?
- I wanted the game to play out for three quarters as it did. I was praying for an emotional win for the Crimson Tide, but y’all failed us once again. We’d like to thank you in advance for taking it out on us for the second year in a row.
8. What’s the general feeling about the Mississippi State program under Leach from the fans? From an outsider, it seems like it started rocky, but he’s mostly settled into meeting expectations, if not really exceeding them by much.
- Personally, I like Mike Leach. I think he’s going to have some games where he loses that raise some eyebrows, but he’ll do the same with games that he wins. I think he’s a good fit for 8, 9, and maybe even a 10-win season in the future.
9. If it doesn’t violate any superstitions, how do you think the game goes this weekend, and what do you predict the rest of the season looks like for the Bulldogs?
- I don’t see the Bulldogs competing this weekend because of what has happened in years past, but I hope we score a touchdown in Tuscaloosa (haven’t done that since Dak Prescott’s No. 1 2014 team). On my podcast, I predicted the Tide to win 40-14.