September 9, 2013 4:42:06 PM
STARKVILLE - Auburn is going to have to deal with some reshuffling on its first-team defense as it opens up Southeastern Conference play.
As reported Sunday by AL.com reporter Brandon Marcello, Kris Frost's suspension for targeting on a hit late in the third quarter Saturday against Arkansas State University will move things around on the Tigers depth chart. (http://www.al.com/auburnfootball/index.ssf/2013/09/auburn_dc_ellis_johnson_weighs_in_on_targeting_suspension.html)
Frost, who expected to miss the first half of the game Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN2), was ejected after hitting Arkansas State quarterback Adam Kennedy in the Tigers 38-9 victory last weekend. The NCAA's new targeting rule requires the player flagged for the violation to miss the first half of the next game if the infraction occurs in the second half.
Marcello reported Sunday the options for Auburn (2-0) and its defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson included moving sophomore Anthony Swain to the inside linebacker spot to help Tigers middle linebacker starter Jake Holland.
MSU coach Dan Mullen said because the turnaround with the Auburn coaching staff since 2009 (two different head coaches, three different offensive coordinators and three different defensive coordinators) the Tigers program is consistently one of the more confusing scouts for his staff year in and year out.
MSU (1-1) is looking to defeat Auburn in consecutive years for the first time since they won three straight from 1998-2000.
"Every year it's been something new with them," Mullen said. "This year we have two games, usually it's only been one game on them. With a lot of new staffs (there) are turnovers from year to year to get that look. So it certainly does make it difficult. I mean you're looking at a whole new offensive staff. And one of the hard things, you can say OK, we can look at Arkansas State from last year, Auburn from three or four years ago on offense; we can look at Southern Miss last year and South Carolina from three or four years ago. But that's not this year's team for them. I mean that's what always makes it hard. You want to look at this year's team because what are they doing with their players? They're very good coaches over there, they're going to make sure they're putting within their system their players in position to make plays."
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.
1. Photo essay: 'Wizard of Pawz' COMMUNITY
5. Lee's thriller topic of Wednesday's Table Talk ENTERTAINMENT