Bulldogs 'D' seeks big effort

JACKSON, Miss. --- Mississippi State middle linebacker Jamar Chaney expects to spend a lot of time with Josh Nesbitt this weekend.


The quarterback for 25th-ranked Georgia Tech carried the ball 32 times in last weekend's win over North Carolina and Chaney expects the same sort of attack when the Yellow Jackets visit Starkville today.

"When you're a playmaker like he is, you like to have your hands on the ball," Chaney said. "So I'm pretty sure he likes to carry it that many times."

The Yellow Jackets (3-1) knocked off Mississippi State 38-7 last season in Atlanta as the Bulldogs couldn't stop Georgia Tech's triple option offense -- even after Nesbitt went down with an early injury. But the Bulldogs (2-2) have a few more weapons for this year's contest.

Starting with Chaney, who did not play. A playmaker with a knack for finding the ball, he missed all but one game last season with a broken leg. He watched helplessly as the Bulldogs gave up big runs, including Jonathan Dwyer's 88-yard touchdown.

Mississippi State also now has a coach who knows a little bit about running the spread option. Dan Mullen not only runs a similar style of offense, though with a smidge more passing, but he spent a fair amount of time talking with Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson about the system.

Mullen wondered about the intricacies of Johnson's offense and how he might incorporate it into his own. While the two offenses look very different at the line of scrimmage -- Mullen's quarterback is in the shotgun formation and there are always lots of receivers spread around; Johnson's No. 4 rushing offense puts Nesbitt under center and relies more heavily on running backs -- Johnson sees nothing that separates the two once the ball is snapped.

"The thing that's a misnomer, and I've said it before, what they're doing is not that different than what we're doing," Johnson said. "They've got all the receivers and this and that and they're in the gun, but if you look at the stats I think they throw for about 20 yards more per game than we are. They're a running football team and a lot of the blocking schemes are similar and a lot of stuff is very similar."

The Bulldogs benefited from Chaney's return, the defense is ranked 31st. With Chaney making plays all over the field, Mississippi State held Vanderbilt and Louisiana State University to 63 total rushing yards combined.

"We've since then made some adjustments and I think our guys are buying into those adjustments," Mullen said.


WHO: Georgia Tech (3-1, 2-1 ACC) at Mississippi State (2-2, 1-2 SEC)

TIME: 7:30 p.m. (CSS)

WHERE: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Miss.



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