November 4, 2009

Cooper plays dual role on D-line

Over the offseason defensive lineman Brandon Cooper wanted to make sure he had the opportunity to see the field more as a junior this year.

The Missouri City, Texas native packed on 20-pounds to so he could be an option at both defensive end and defensive tackle for Mississippi State.

The 6-foot-1, 260-pounder has played in four games this season making seven tackles, 1.5 stops for loss and one sack.

"For me the season has been going good because I have been able to service the team," Cooper said. "We've had people go down at certain positions and I got my weight up so that I could play defensive end and defensive tackle. I let coach know before the season that he could use me at either one whenever he wanted to. I had a couple of problems at home that affected me on the field so I had to get that straightened out. But for the most part I feel blessed with how this season is going."

Cooper also had a setback in fall camp missing two weeks after getting poked in the eye at practice. It may not have sounded like a significant injury at the time but Cooper lost sight in his left eye for two days and threatened his career.

"I was on a pass rush against big Derek (Sherrod)," Cooper said. "I'm so low and I'm short so I play with low pads and his finger went in my eye. "I didn't have any sight the next morning. When I woke up the next morning after that it was like a raw, blurry and very hard to see. It gradually started coming back. I had to wear shades when we were outside practicing at the farm. Coach (Matt) Balis worked to keep my endurance up so when I came back I could come back hard. I never lost a step."

The usually laid back Cooper admits that losing his sight for several days frightened him. But with the help of the coaching and support staff was able to keep his confidence up and kept himself ready to resume practice when he was cleared to play.



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