Mississippi State's Joe Moorhead joined the rest of the league's head coaches on the SEC Teleconference on Wednesday to discuss the Bulldogs' upcoming game against Southern Miss.
Here is a transcript of Moorhead's time on the call:
Moorhead: “I’m very excited to be coming off of a quality road win against Louisiana in the Superdome. I think we’ve had a great week of practice. Southern Miss going to be a very formidable instate opponent. They’re explosive on offense, very stingy on defense and play quality special teams. They had two returns for touchdowns last week against Alcorn (State). We’re excited for the opportunity.”
What do you think of your specialists’ Twitter account and the fun they’ve had with it?
Moorhead: “Yeah, I guess they’re like most specialist units. They’re very unique in their own way. They spend a couple of periods during practice practicing special teams and the rest of the time I guess planning their Twitter game plan. I’ve seen it a few times and some of the stuff is pretty good. I guess they’re having fun with it.”
How big a weapon is Tommy Stevens in the run game?
Moorhead: “I think anytime your quarterback can be a legitimate threat in the run game and it forces the defenses to defend the entire width and length of the field. We talked at the beginning of the season about wanting to take some of the carries off of the quarterback and getting those to the tailback. I think you saw that in the first game.
“That also comes in concert with us being effective passing the ball. The better we’re able to throw it, the more run boxes we’ll see that are advantageous to us handing the ball off to the running back. A quarterback that can pose a threat with his legs is an extra dimension for the defense to defend.”
How would you evaluate the route running and runs after the catch for your wide receivers in Game 1?
Moorhead: “For the most part they were assignment correct. I thought they ran solid, solid, crisp routes. I don’t think there were any drops by our receiver corps unless unless I’m mistaken, knock on wood. I thought it was a productive day. I think we had nine different guys catch passes.
“The Z-position had a bunch of production between Osirus (Mitchell) and JaVonta (Payton) as did the slot with Deddrick (Thomas), Austin (Williams) and Isaiah (Zuber). I think Stephen (Guidry) had four catches at the X-position. It was good that we were able to spread the ball around among the receivers.”
How has Erroll Thompson evolved as a leader on defense?
Moorhead: “He obviously has the vote of the team being elected captain by his peers. That’s a positive. He had a tremendous season last year and I’m expecting big things from him this fall. He had a good start for the first game. There were a couple of things where he was on the edge of a few tackles and had a few more TFL’s but he’s a guy who does it by example.
“He’s a guy who does it vocally and is a player that all the kids look up to for a good reason.”
How do you feel like your team is in its two-deep depth chart?
Moorhead: “Like most people, you wish you had quality depth across the board at all positions. I think it’s really a balance of where we’re returning experience and we can get a bunch of guys who are talented a lot of reps. I think that was probably indicative of our defensive line where Fabien (Lovett) and (Jaden) Crumedy played a bunch of snaps and also James Jackson. We’re going to work Nathan Pickering and Cameron Young in there as well.
“Certainly a 12-week schedule and in particular with the SEC West schedule, you want to have as many available bodies as possible. It’s a long, tough schedule.”
What did James Franklin tell you about Chris Marve during the interview process and what has he brought to the linebacker group?
Moorhead: “I really didn’t get much input from coach Franklin just because coach (Bob) Shoop was his coordinator and had worked with him very specifically. I remember Chris from when we were at UConn and we played against him while he was still (at Vanderbilt). I remember him being a heck of a football player with multiple All-SEC awards as a player.
“He brings that same fire and passion to the meeting rooms and to the field. I think he’ s a guy in a very short amount of time that will be a good coordinator and has all the tools to be successful head coach as well.”