Mississippi State Team News

Dan Mullen pleased with Mississippi State defense’s progress in spring

Dan Mullen
Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State needed a defensive revival in spring practice, and coach Dan Mullen feels his defense is starting to move in the right direction.

Mullen said he’s happy with the aggressiveness of the Bulldogs’ defense after a strong showing in the spring game.

The Bulldogs’ defensive units had five interceptions, including a pair from freshman Cameron Dantzler, in the spring game. Brian Cole, Deion Pope and Jamal Peters also picked off passes.

“You know the defense I want to play here with, which is guys flying to the football as hard as they can, trying to go make plays and playing an aggressive style of defense,” Mullen said. “We want to be aggressive and flying around. I saw some of that out there on the field.”

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Mississippi State is counting on major improvements from that defense in 2017. Last season, the Bulldogs were 110th nationally in total defense and 93rd in scoring defense.

New defensive coordinator Todd Grantham particularly praised the “impactful” work of junior college transfers Montez Sweat and Chauncey Rivers during the spring. Sweat began his career at Michigan State before transferring to a junior college. Rivers was dismissed from Georgia before heading to a juco.

The defenses combined for 10 sacks. Mississippi State managed just 25 sacks last season, and the leading returning sack man is Traver Jung, who had 2.5.

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