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March 26, 2009

Chaney makes happy return for Mississippi State

Logan Lowery
Rivals.com College Football
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State senior linebacker Jamar Chaney expected to be preparing for the NFL draft this week.

But after fracturing his leg in the fourth quarter of the Bulldogs' opener against Louisiana Tech last season, things changed. Chaney would miss the remainder of the 2008 season, but after receiving a medical redshirt he decided to hold off on his pro career for one more year.

The 6-foot-1, 245-pounder made his return earlier this week as the Bulldogs began spring practice.

"It feels good to be back at practice," Chaney said. "It's been half a year, almost seven months. It feels good because I missed it. Coming out here and dressing out before we go to practice, it's just the little things that you wouldn't think about before the injury. I really did miss and it I'm happy to be out here."

After such a long hiatus away from the field, Chaney does not think he had much rust and his injured leg was not a problem. However, he is having to learn a new defensive scheme under new coordinator Carl Torbush.

"I felt pretty good," said Chaney, who led the Bulldogs in tackles as a junior with 89 stops and already had 12 before being injured in the 2008 opener. "The main thing for me is just learning the defense. I need to get to where I am not thinking out there on the field so I can get out there and know what I am doing."

Chaney played for four years under former coach Sylvester Croom and could already tell a drastic change of pace under Dan Mullen.

"I think it's more intense," Chaney said. "There is more attention to detail and it's fast paced. Everything is quick and everything is fast especially with us going against the spread offense."

But the change is not necessarily a bad thing, Chaney said. He likes Mullen's intensity level, which is a contrasting style to the usually mild-mannered Croom at practice.

"I like that he is real intense," Chaney said. "He's a real firey guy. He's a real cool coach, but he's going to get after you to do your job and make sure you give 100 percent with all your effort."

While Croom had talked about moving Chaney back to outside linebacker for his final season, he practiced in the middle sandwiched by K.J. Wright on the left and Chris White on the right.

"Right now Coach Torbush has pretty much got us where he wants us," Chaney said. "Of course he could change his mind, but he's got me at the mike right now. It doesn't matter to me. Whichever one they want me to play I will play."

With only 15 days of spring to prepare a whole new scheme the coaches are working feverishly to install as much as possible in the shortest amount of time.

"They put probably the whole punt team in on day one," Chaney said. "On defense we probably have 25 percent of our defense in right now. They are just putting it on us and that will be better for us. By the end of the spring we should have everything pretty much down pat."

A native of Columbus, Miss., Logan Lowery has covered Mississippi State for three years. Lowery joined Rivals.com in July 2008 and is the publisher of BulldogBlitz.com.
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