Derek Dooley on Mississippi State's secondary: 'These are NFL guys'

Jackson State running back B. J. Lee, front center is tackled by Mississippi State defenders from left, Johnthan Banks (13),  Benardrick McKinney , back center, and Nickoe Whitley (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012. (AP Photo Jim Lytle)

Photo by Jim Lytle

Jackson State running back B. J. Lee, front center is tackled by Mississippi State defenders from left, Johnthan Banks (13), Benardrick McKinney , back center, and Nickoe Whitley (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012. (AP Photo Jim Lytle)

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If not for the gray-skied, 50-degree weather outside the Football Training Center on the University of Tennessee's campus Monday, one might have thought it was August.

The rhetoric was replayed.

"These are NFL guys — they're legitimate football players," Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said during his weekly press conference regarding a Mississippi State secondary increasingly gaining respect. "They're incredibly instinctive, long and athletic. … They can just prey on a quarterback, break him down and make the play."

Heard this before?

"You have a first-rounder and probably three or four NFL draft guys back there," Dooley said back in August, praising N.C. State's supposedly invulnerable secondary. "They make you pay for an inaccurate throw."

As it turned out, UT quarterback Tyler Bray canceled those payments by rattling off 27 completions for 333 yards and two touchdowns. N.C. State cornerback David Amerson is still trying to figure out where Cordarrelle Patterson went.

Dooley's praise went uncorroborated by N.C. State.

As for Mississippi State, Tennessee's opponent Saturday (TV: ESPN2, 9 p.m.) ...

The Vols, boasting the SEC's top aerial attack with 329.2 passing yards per game, will face a Bulldog defense ranked 11th in scoring defense (13.4 point per game). Cornerbacks Darius Slay (four) and Johnthan Banks (three) rank among the nation's best in interceptions.

***

In the UT secondary, a need for speed has opened the door for freshman LaDarrell McNeil.

According to Dooley, the Dallas native is assured more playing time Saturday and may land in the starting lineup.

"He's a real quiet guy, but I don't think the game is too big for him at all," said veteran cornerback Prentiss Waggner, who added that McNeil is "a guy that flies around to the ball, no matter what the play."

***

Lounging like any ol' SEC fan last Saturday, offensive lineman Ja'Wuan James found it difficult to disconnect in his off week.

"It's funny because if we watch a game collectively, everyone in the room is saying, 'Did you see that? Did you see that?' " James said. "Everyone is looking at different things. You watch your position.

When watching the Mississippi State-Kentucky game, James said he zeroed in on how the Bulldogs lined up opposite UK's right tackle — the spot he'll be occupying Saturday in Starkville.

"They've got good size and they're athletic," he said of State's defensive linemen.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/BFQuinn

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 32

VolGrad writes:

Worked against NC State.

Go Vols! Beat the dawgs!!!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

"Alrighty then"

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

Hahaha! I love the pictures they use! Anybody know if Banks got away with that facemask? Yep. NFL quality facemask right there.

Seriously. MSU's secondary has looked good this year, but then again, look who they've faced. All of their FBS opponents are among the worst in the country when it comes to throwing interceptions.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

What about NC State's secondary? They lead the country last season (same starters), and they trail MSU by only 1 INT this season. Bray and Co. torched them, and made that All-American who had 13 INTs last season look like a middle schooler.

If Bray is on target and Hunter, Rogers and Patterson aren't dropping balls, they will light up MSU too. Specially since the Vols running game has to be respected now.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Maybe if you Google it, you can find somebody who gives a krap what you think. (but I doubt it)

jobrando#216494 writes:

I dont care if they are Spartan's just get the win and you keep your job coach

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

Sure, MSU is third in the country in turnover margin. Who wouldn't be against Troy, Jackson State, UK, Auburn, and South Alabubba? I'll be impressed when they beat somebody with a pulse, I just hope it isn't us. It shouldn't be. Even the odds-makers (the real ones. not Brett.) only give them a 3-point advantage. That means at a neutral location it would be even, and at Neyland we would be the 3-point favorite. I still see the problem with all these predictions being that they've not played anybody with a pulse yet. They also are 14th in the SEC in big scrimmage plays. That bodes well for our defense.

This will be a good game, but I think we'll win it, and shut up some of those D-bag Daug fans, who actually think they're a national title contender this year! (My daughter goes to MSU, and she said she can't believe how many people actually think that right now.)

lemme_axya_this writes:

Those "NFL" guys are fixin to get lit up.

voloffaith writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So TRUE as you are living proof of disrespect for Coach DOOLEY. Go VOLS be smart and win one for good ole UT!!!

rockypop writes:

in response to KremsersWaywardWallop:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Say what you will about Dooley, he seems to be telling it like it is every week. What do you expect him to say - "These guys can't find a t#rd in a fishbowl, and we're going to light 'em up like New Year's eve on Times Square?"

When he said Tennessee wasn't very good, they weren't very good. Now, he said you won't have UT to kick around anymore. Based on the evidence so far, I'd say he's pretty close to being right.

It's real easy to forget that besides Kentucky, nobody took over a more decimated program than Dooley. If you don't want to get behind him and the team, then take your uninspired drivel where the sun don't shine.

JonGrudensAgent writes:

in response to KremsersWaywardWallop:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Dooleave"??

Clean yourself up, you're better than that.

Or maybe not.

stevefrommemphis writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

Hahaha! I love the pictures they use! Anybody know if Banks got away with that facemask? Yep. NFL quality facemask right there.

Seriously. MSU's secondary has looked good this year, but then again, look who they've faced. All of their FBS opponents are among the worst in the country when it comes to throwing interceptions.

Since he's not wearing an Alabama uniform, I imagine the penalty got called.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to KremsersWaywardWallop:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No. That was last year. Different year = differnt teams. It's the 2012 Kentucky team. The one that will go 2-10 this year (if they can manage to beat Samford, which isn't assured), and the one that MSU (the #19 team in the country) ONLY managed to beat by two TDs.

Look at the calendar on your wall, moron. This is 2012. I know, hard to believe, isn't it? It seems like only yesterday, you were basking in your brother's glory, but those days are long gone, aren't they Jeffreak?

JonGrudensAgent writes:

The Vols proved against Georgia State and Akron that they better take everyone seriously, NFL talent or not.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to JonGrudensAgent:

The Vols proved against Georgia State and Akron that they better take everyone seriously, NFL talent or not.

I'm sorry. Didn't the Vols out-score them 98-39?

Despite their weak opponents, the Daugs have only scored over 30 points once.

The Vols have scored at least 35 in every game.

The Daugs haven't played any real defenses yet, have only played one SEC team (1-4 Auburn), and obviously haven't played any currently or previously ranked teams. The Vols have played two top-10 SEC teams.

Do the math, if you can.

The only thing you can pick apart my logic with is the fact that Tennessee is barely better than Auburn in total defense so far. Well, Auburn has sucked consistently, not just on an occasional big play. They haven't faced any explosive offenses, like we have. We are down there in total offense specifically because our defense has given up 5 plays over 70 yards. If the coaches do fix that, we're damn good. We've apparently got every other piece of the puzzle in place.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

I'm sorry. Didn't the Vols out-score them 98-39?

Despite their weak opponents, the Daugs have only scored over 30 points once.

The Vols have scored at least 35 in every game.

The Daugs haven't played any real defenses yet, have only played one SEC team (1-4 Auburn), and obviously haven't played any currently or previously ranked teams. The Vols have played two top-10 SEC teams.

Do the math, if you can.

The only thing you can pick apart my logic with is the fact that Tennessee is barely better than Auburn in total defense so far. Well, Auburn has sucked consistently, not just on an occasional big play. They haven't faced any explosive offenses, like we have. We are down there in total offense specifically because our defense has given up 5 plays over 70 yards. If the coaches do fix that, we're damn good. We've apparently got every other piece of the puzzle in place.

Sorry. GVX doesn't let you edit your posts, so I'll post the correction.

The Vols have only scored less than 35 points once. (Not at least 35 in every game)

RollTideJoe writes:

in response to stevefrommemphis:

Since he's not wearing an Alabama uniform, I imagine the penalty got called.

Jealousy will get you nowhere. Right, the refs are pulling for Alabama. Amazing!

cloudodust writes:

Simple. We'll see if Bray and the offense are made of NFL caliber. Ought to be mano-mano.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to RollTideJoe:

Jealousy will get you nowhere. Right, the refs are pulling for Alabama. Amazing!

also amazing that an Alabama fan would be on this site obviously reading every post to be able to catch the comment about the penalty not being called if it was an Alabama player

stevefrommemphis writes:

in response to RollTideJoe:

Jealousy will get you nowhere. Right, the refs are pulling for Alabama. Amazing!

What I think is amazing is that an Alabama fan is on a Tennessee site reading posts waiting for an opportunity to post a smart comment like yours. Does the Tide pay you to do this? What's even more amazing is that I am wasting my valuable time responding to a Bammer's comment.

lstbodeanvol writes:

check out crimsontreepoisoner.com

ALL_VOL75 writes:

actually...they're SEC guys. Quit trying to deflect, and just win a damn SEC game!

Classof72 writes:

"They're incredibly instinctive, long and athletic. … They can just prey on a quarterback, break him down and make the play."

How come we don't have a secondary like that, Coach? Better players make better coaches.

VOL_IN_BAMA writes:

NFL Guys? I think Dooley is confusing them with the team they play next Saturday at home.

JonGrudensAgent writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

I'm sorry. Didn't the Vols out-score them 98-39?

Despite their weak opponents, the Daugs have only scored over 30 points once.

The Vols have scored at least 35 in every game.

The Daugs haven't played any real defenses yet, have only played one SEC team (1-4 Auburn), and obviously haven't played any currently or previously ranked teams. The Vols have played two top-10 SEC teams.

Do the math, if you can.

The only thing you can pick apart my logic with is the fact that Tennessee is barely better than Auburn in total defense so far. Well, Auburn has sucked consistently, not just on an occasional big play. They haven't faced any explosive offenses, like we have. We are down there in total offense specifically because our defense has given up 5 plays over 70 yards. If the coaches do fix that, we're damn good. We've apparently got every other piece of the puzzle in place.

Looks like I made a friend.

You're right, the Vols outscored Akron and GA State.

But those games also proved that anyone can hit a big game-changing play on them at any time.

On the Bulldogs record, they haven't needed to score 35 a game, their defense has been competent to this point in the season.

To your last point about being damn good, the coaches may also want to think about cleaning up those pesky PATs before the end of the year.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Their CB's are the real deal because they can press cover in a man to man situation..As long as Bray doesn't get cocky and throw into double coverage we will be fine

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to stevefrommemphis:

What I think is amazing is that an Alabama fan is on a Tennessee site reading posts waiting for an opportunity to post a smart comment like yours. Does the Tide pay you to do this? What's even more amazing is that I am wasting my valuable time responding to a Bammer's comment.

That's ok, it's a slow day.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to JonGrudensAgent:

Looks like I made a friend.

You're right, the Vols outscored Akron and GA State.

But those games also proved that anyone can hit a big game-changing play on them at any time.

On the Bulldogs record, they haven't needed to score 35 a game, their defense has been competent to this point in the season.

To your last point about being damn good, the coaches may also want to think about cleaning up those pesky PATs before the end of the year.

Well, the Buldogs' 4 FBS opponents rank #75, #107, #119 and #122 in the country in scoring. Their other opponent is a 2-4 FCS team whose per game scoring would make them #89 among FBS teams (of course, if they played all FBS teams, they probably wouldn't score as many points as they have).

Our FBS opponents so far rank 13, 39, 67 and 69.

Our offense ranks 20th in the country in scoring, less than 2 points/game behind the SEC's leader (Georgia).

MSU's defense will have their hands full for the first time this year, and the emergence of our running game only makes us stronger.

Lizardgrad89 writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

I'm sorry. Didn't the Vols out-score them 98-39?

Despite their weak opponents, the Daugs have only scored over 30 points once.

The Vols have scored at least 35 in every game.

The Daugs haven't played any real defenses yet, have only played one SEC team (1-4 Auburn), and obviously haven't played any currently or previously ranked teams. The Vols have played two top-10 SEC teams.

Do the math, if you can.

The only thing you can pick apart my logic with is the fact that Tennessee is barely better than Auburn in total defense so far. Well, Auburn has sucked consistently, not just on an occasional big play. They haven't faced any explosive offenses, like we have. We are down there in total offense specifically because our defense has given up 5 plays over 70 yards. If the coaches do fix that, we're damn good. We've apparently got every other piece of the puzzle in place.

You didn't score 35 in every game.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to Lizardgrad89:

You didn't score 35 in every game.

Yeah. Typing too fast. Just like you. Read the comment I posted immediately after that one. Thank you.

UTVolWarrior98 writes:

Good ol Doolittle "reverse psychology"..gotta love it..

OrangeMike writes:

I have never been either so bored or so concerned about what fans of other teams in the SEC are saying about their team that I have even considered reading newspaper articles or blogs about their teams. These jokers on here from red neck nation AL and Johnny Come Lately FL, however, actually have gone to the trouble of creating accounts on this site so they can post their nattering nonsense. Just beam me up Scotty. It would be impossible for me to care less about them, their teams, the schools they represent, or most significantly, what they have to say about my team and the school it represents. Since most people on here probably feel pretty much the same way, why don't they just go away?

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