Spring Practice Wish List: Linebackers


Sep 21, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs linebacker Benardrick McKinney (50) prepares for the play during the game against the Troy Trojans at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State won 62-7. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Spring Practice started March 18. The Bulldogs will start their preparation for the 2014 football season and it ends on April 12 with the Spring game, the marquee event of Super Bulldog Weekend. Mississippi State is poised to have one of their best seasons in 2014, but there are a number of things that need to be developed to get the most out of this team as possible. Today we look at the Linebackers.

The Linebackers for Mississippi State don’t get a whole lot of attention for Mississippi State outside of Benardrick McKinney. That doesn’t mean that this group isn’t a solid group of players. As a matter of fact, it may be the most complete group of players on the team. Here is my wish list for the linebackers.

Get McKinney Prepared for the Draft: McKinney is as talented as any linebacker in the country. If everything goes as well as many think it will in 2014, we won’t see him in 2015 in a Bulldogs’ uniform. I’d be okay with that because it would mean that McKinney had a great year in 2014. McKinney is going to have a chance to work his way into the first round of the NFL Draft. If he does, it will start this spring.

Replace Deontae Skinner: The biggest loss in the linebacking corps is Deontae Skinner. He was the second leading tackler on the team last year, and it is going to be difficult to replace that type of production. Thankfully, we have a young group of players ready to step in.

Get the Young Guys Ready: Speaking of that young group of players, there are a number of guys who need to step up this spring and establish themselves in the defensive unit. The most likely candidates to step into starting roles are Beniquez Brown and Richie Brown. Both were highly recruited, and both players showed signs that they could become big time players.

Determine the Role of Dee Arrignton: Dee Arrignton is an in between player who had a good year at linebacker. He is talented, but the challenge is figuring out a way to utilize his talent in the best possible manner. Dee Arrington had been a safety, but he is making the switch to linebacker.  He brings diversity to the defense, it just means the coaching staff has to be more creative in how they use him. Nevermind all that. I read on Tuesday that Arrington is dealing with some hamstring issues and may not play at all next year, much less get significant time during Spring Practice. Dee is a talented, versatile player, and if he isn’t available, that could be a pretty big blow to the linebackers.

The linebackers are the bread and butter of every defense. They need to be strong and fast. They have to be the most well rounded players on the unit. And the good thing about Mississippi State’s linebackers, the guys are loaded with talent.