October 10, 2013

Collins: Game Plan Remains the Same, Relentless Effort Always the Goal

Geoff Collins approached the media Tuesday night as he usually does. Even after a two-hour practice where he more than likely ran around wildly barking assignments at players and awarding juice points, he was upbeat. The coach keeps that energy throughout any situation and it has been a big reason why the MSU defense has been much more aggressive than in years past. The Bulldogs gave up 59 points last Saturday against LSU's vaunted offense, a record under Dan Mullen and the most points given up at home in 20 years. The fourth quarter told the tale in this ball game and Collins wasn't disappointed with the scoreboard as much as players changing what they did the first three quarters.

"You see guys in the fourth quarter jumping out of gaps and trying to play someone else's fit instead doing the job that they did for the most of the game. They were trying to press a little bit and that's just some things we've got to correct. You just have to trust the defense and they did some things pretty well for the most of the night. Just have to respond and not try to do too much."

Trying to do too much is a better description of the defense than not doing enough. The players played hard for the duration of the game but over-perusing in coverage and taking someone else's man led to big plays by Zach Mettenburger, Odell Beckham and the rest of the LSU offense.

"I think it was probably the best quarterback that we'll see all year, and I've got to imagine those were two of the best receivers in the country. They did a great job having guys in position ready to make plays and unfortunately their guy came down with them when we didn't. We knew that it was going to be a big game going in and knew it was going to be a challenge. At times we played pretty well and other times, especially on third downs, they made plays and we didn't make plays. There's some things we've got to correct and I think it's a great motivator for us this week with a great offense coming in. We've got to stand up and respond by being ready to play."

Collins preached earlier last week that the team's focus was putting LSU in long third-down tries and then getting them off the field. The Bulldogs did do a really good job at the first part of the equation but LSU converted over 50% of their third downs and important ones, too.

"It's the same approach every week. The opponent doesn't matter and the scoreboard doesn't matter. The thing that disappointed me last week was once we got down by 10, we started doing things we haven't done all game. It doesn't matter the situation, the scoreboard or who we're playing against, the expectation to play great defense is the same. That's what we've tried to stress. Play big-time defense. The key that we've tried to stress is to get off the field on third down. The first third down of the game, we had double coverage and the kid makes an unbelievable play. Later in the game, we're within three points on third-and-19, same situation and the kid converts. So just an emphasis on third down, not doing too much and keep doing the same things we've done all season."

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