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Similarities with defensive coordinators at MSU, OSU


Matthew Stevens



STARKVILLE -- The similarities can't be avoided when talking about the two defensive coordinators in Saturday's Texas Kickoff Classic. 


Oklahoma State University coordinator Glenn Spencer and Mississippi State University assistant coach Geoff Collins were promoted to their jobs after coaching linebackers and serving as the co-defensive coordinator the previous fall. Spencer and Collins were on the 2001 staff at Georgia Tech University under George O'Leary. Collins admitted he "had a little more hair back then" as a graduate assistant, while Spencer was the running backs coach. 


The Yellow Jackets went 8-5 that season and earned a berth to the Seattle Bowl before O'Leary left to become coach at the University of Notre Dame, a job that lasted just a few days after discrepancies were found in O'Leary's resume. 


"I know some of the guys on that (Oklahoma State) staff and he's one of them I know the most about in terms of what he likes to do and what he likes to implement," Collins said. "It's hard to run up against somebody you've never seen, talked to, or had a relationship with at some point, whether it's an offseason convention, staff at another place, or just watched on film." 


Spencer described Collins to The Oklahoman as "young, energetic, innovative, and a good motivator." The lingo Collins has created for the Bulldogs' defense, which includes words like "juice" and "mayhem," fits the bill. 


"He can use the same terminology they were using," Spencer said to The Oklahoman. "I'm sure he's going to implement his own touch on things like I have." 


Reliant Stadium to use Astro Turf to save the grass for the Houston Texans 


The Texas Kickoff Classic won't be played on the same field used by the NFL's Houston Texans. 


Despite having a natural grass playing surface, Reliant Stadium will debut the NFL's first retractable-roof football and rodeo stadium with a portable playing surface thanks to the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation (HCSCC), which has installed an AstroTurf system. 


After a re-make last year, the field is made up of eight-foot square trays, which hold sections of grass that are pieced together for games. These trays are removed after Texans games to be properly exposed to sunlight, water, and fertilization. 


"We're trying to save the natural grass field for the NFL so it will stay in better condition, and yet we're trying to generate new revenue," said Mark Miller, general manager of SMG-Reliant Park. "Revenue from the synthetic turf system can recover the cost in very short order. Anything that is not the NFL, we will try to play it on the AstroTurf if the schedule allows. This would include high school and college football playoff games, the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl, and others." 


MSU offensive coordinator Les Koenning said Monday getting his quarterbacks familiar to the environment will be his first priority when the team arrives. MSU coach Dan Mullen said MSU never conducts a pregame walk-through in the stadium for road games, and they won't do it in Houston. The University of Houston will play Southern University on Friday night, making a stadium walk-through nearly impossible. 




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