September 4, 2009

Position Preview: Defensive Line

Something seemed to be lacking for the Mississippi State defense last season.

The Bulldogs have seemed to always have a number of defensive lineman with the uncanny ability to get pressure on the quarterback. But last season MSU's front four managed just 11 sacks as a unit.

Things should certainly change this season with the addition of three four-star signees that will be pressed into immediate action including the Bulldogs highest rated recruit Pernell McPhee, who led the nation in sacks the past two seasons at Itawamba Community College.

"We definitely have more depth," said defensive line coach David Turner. "Every interview I do pass rush comes up and we are trying to get to the quarterback more. Obviously that is one of the things that we've been working on and one of the things we've been harping on. We've worked extremely hard and I think it will be better. I don't know if it will translate into numbers but the guys are aware of it and they've been picked on about not being able to generate enough pass rush so I think they will be better at it."

Part of Turner's confidence in the new and improved d-line comes from their progression in the offseason under new strength and conditioning coach Matt Balis.

"There is no question that this is a different deal with what they are doing in the weight room with him with mental and physical toughness," Turner said. "I think that has been nothing but a plus. The guys have responded and I know that we are tougher mentally as well as physically having gone through the offseason. You can't put a price or a value on what he has done in terms of this team and the attitude for us over the offseason."

Turner feels that the unit finished up fall camp strong only having a pair of days that he left the practice field unpleased with their effort.

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