It's hard to really gauge a lot from SEC Media Days. The reporters ask some really stupid questions and all too often the focus is more on off the field gossip than what will actually take place on the field. But - it is football, and in the middle of July that is a welcomed site. The 2013 football season is within shouting distance.
I was watching Talkin Football on CSS last night and they were interviewing Tyler Russell. When Derek Rackley asked him, "MSU will have a sucessful season if _____ happens", Russell responded, 'everybody buying in'. He went on to say some stuff like responding to adversity, etc. But I thought his initial response was telling from a standpoint of what some of the rumors about the team over the course of the back half of the year slide have been with regards to dissension among the coaching staff and lack of positive leadership on the team.
Here is a link to the full transcript of what Mullen said in the main media room.
One of the items that caught my attention was when Mullen said, "you're going to see a defense that's going to play extremely aggressive", and he went on to say, "schematically you might not see a difference in what you're doing, you might see a slight change in personality as people take the personality of their coaches". He was talking about Collins being a fiery, emotional, and aggressive type of person who he thinks will have an impact on the way we play defense. So maybe not much of a scheme change as much as bringing more intensity. I think we can all go for that - and it sounds a bit like Manny Diaz' 2010 defense.
Benardrick McKinney had this to say about Collins' defense...
A lot of juice. It's going to be a lot of new things we didn't do last year. A lot more mayhem - more sacks, interceptions as a group.
Tyler Russell on being a leader this year...
My main goal is to be a leader on and off the field. Right now, I got to get the guys to have the same mindset that I have - that sense of urgency. If I think about the things I had done, if I knew what I know now when I first started, my life would be a whole lot easier. I try to explain to those guys, if you learn it now, everything will be a whole lot smoother for you.
Leadership will be huge this year, and it's up to Tyler to bring it as the quarterback. LaDarius Perkins can certainly shoulder some of that as well as a senior. On defense someone will have to step up as the loss of Cam Lawerence, Johnthan Banks, Josh Boyd Darius Slay and Corey Broomfield will hurt that a ton. Seniors this year include Nickoe Whitley, Deontae Skinner and Denico Autry - there's one on each unit and they will need to fill those shoes in a positive way.
Here are the media's preseason selections. Alabama is of course picked to win the West, MSU to come in 6th. Gabe Jackson was picked for the 1st team and Perkins for the 2nd team all-SEC. ZERO SELECTIONS FOR MSU DEFENSE - that ought to fire them up!