November 5, 2012 4:59:42 PM
STARKVILLE - In two straight losses to No. 1 University of Alabama and No. 15 Texas A&M University, Mississippi State University (7-2, 3-2 in Southeastern Conference) has allowed 1,107 yards of total offense and forced just 14 combined plays for negative yardage in those pair of games.
So the obvious question is will the MSU defense, that was supposed to be the calling card of this 2012 squad, become more aggressive with its play calling or stick with what they've been doing?
The answer seems to be more along the lines of sticking to what they're doing and basing their game plan on the offense they're presented with every Saturday.
"Again, it depends on who you are playing and what the scheme is going to look like," Mullen said. "You watch this team (LSU) and they're going to protect eight and run a two-man route. You say well why aren't we getting a pass rush? Well if they're blocking with eight on four and everyone is double-teamed that's going to be tough. Last week, you play a scrambling quarterback, we played a little bit more of a non-go-all-out blitz. A couple of times we did blitz, we got him a couple of times and we got creased a couple of times. So we got pressure and gave up big plays; got pressure and made some big plays. So I think week-in and week-out kind of the scheme the opponent does is going to determine how you do things."
When The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog asked MSU defensive coordinator Chris Wilson about what the balance is between trying dictate pressure and rhythm to the offense and Mullen saying it really depends on the offensive scheme you're playing against, the second-year defensive coordinator had a very interesting take. MSU fans may see something different out of the MSU front seven this week.
"You got to have ways to attack it and it's definitely that a lot of this game is counter punching," Wilson said Monday. "You really got to be able to have complimentary schemes. Not a lot of stuff but things that give you a chance to attack."
Senior linebacker Cameron Lawrence now leads the Bulldogs in sacks with just four but has earned on in each of the last three games of the season.
"You see Saturday against Johnny Manziel, Matt Wells was really close twice, missed a sack," MSU linebacker coach Geoff Collins said. "Deontae (Skinner) was close twice, he missed a sack. Cam got him on the ground. We were so close. Matt Wells, great kid, but probably leads the SEC in missed opportunities. And it drives him because he's such a great athlete, and he wants to do the things that we're asking him to do. And it's just a matter of time where it just starts coming in bunches for him."
MSU must hope so when they travel to Tigers Stadium this week to face No. 9 LSU as the Tigers (7-2, 3-2 in SEC) have allowed 13 sacks in six home games this season, which is 12nd out of 14.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
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