October 18, 2013

Collins Working the D for Situational Clean Up

After two ball games where the play on the field was not to his liking, Geoff Collins and the rest of the MSU coaches have gone back to the basics in this bye week. The Bulldogs are hurting as a unit with several injuries across the board, but that hasn't stopped them from trying to get better. That all starts with working on certain situations that they may find themselves in during a ball game.

"We're trying to work on situational football. We're just emphasizing on third downs, red zones and two minute drills," Collins said about the bye week. "We're also developing some of the young players making sure that they're ready for when their time comes in the spring, they've got some good reps too."

A couple of players that Collins always seems to be pleased with is his two leaders at linebacker. Leading the defense from the middle, Benardrick McKinney and Deontae Skinner are stepping up to help carry some of the younger players.

"This past game, Benardrick McKinney and Deontae Skinner played as well of a game at the linebacker position as I've seen in awhile. They were flying around, highly productive, getting pressure on the quarterback and making plays. At halftime I told them they had to take over the game for us to win it. I think they did that. Benardrick had four or five tackles on the last two drives and they were all over the field. I think they've done some good things and hopefully in the second half of the season they get better."

Collins went deeper into what his linebackers provide for the defense other than just brute ability and insitinct. He likes the leadership they bring on the field and in the locker room and even mentioned that McKinney won the can of swag for a week for having the most juice on the field during MSU's win over Bowling Green.

"The big thing is just energy, play making and getting everybody lined up. We want to make sure that they make everybody around them better and making plays on their own too," Collins said. "They're very competitive, they love each other, but they're very competitive. They're checking stats so if one of them has a 10-tackle game, the other one is trying to make sure he gets up there too. They're a fun group to coach."

One of those linebackers that Collins loved to coach and brought that same energy and intensity that the others brought was Ferlando Bohanna. The junior linebacker had made a move and was fighting for strong playing time during the preseason when he unfortunately encountered a concussion prior to the Oklahoma State game. He finally made his way back on the field this past weekend before re-aggravating that injury and possibly has seen his career come to a close.

"Bo's been a great player his whole career. He's had a big role in special teams and the big thing that people don't notice is how much energy and enthusiasm he has. He loves playing football so losing that for the first six games hurt. I love the kid and I just love seeing him out there playing football."

Injuries will happen in football. They're happening all over the country to some of the biggest players on each roster. For MSU's defense, they can't afford many of these injuries with an already young group across the board. Losing the starting safety in game one has been a challenge for Collins and his group but he said there always has to be someone willing to step up and fill a role.

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