By LEE ADAMS
Mississippi State has a strong defense coming into camp and they have two experienced corners in Johnthan Banks and Corey Broomfield, but miscommunication was the topic of conversation after Saturday morning's practice.
"We had some miscommunications today at practice," said cornerbacks coach Melvin Smith, who is in his fifth season with the Bulldogs. "We do things that requires players to pay attention because we are a call defense and when we miss a call, we have problems."
The miscommunication happened during a scrimmage drill towards the end of practice when the first string offense marched down the field and scored from around 40 yards out on a passing play. The receiver was untouched on his way to the end zone due to the play call not getting across the field.
"We had a busted call for a touchdown because we didn't get the play called across," said junior corner Broomfield. "If you don't get the call across, you'll give up a touchdown so we have to work on our communication."
Smith expects his players to be able to communicate clearly with each other and when they don't, he is not happy.
"It disappoints me when we have a miscommunication because we are an experienced group with depth," said Smith. "When we have poor communication, it really makes me sad."
The Bulldog corners are in a call defense so the communication from the sideline and player to player is key to executing the right play, but to be able to communicate players have to zero in to hear the call.
"There is a lot of conversation going on at our practice and when you are in a call defense, you have to pay attention," said Smith. "We are always communicating with our hands and our mouths trying to execute good communication across the board."
Despite the miscommunications in morning practice, the Bulldogs are looking good in the cornerback position with Banks and Broomfield returning. They combined for 106 tackles in 2010 while playing in all 13 games.
Although Banks and Broomfield had success in 2010, they spent time during the offseason working to get better at their positions.
"I got stronger this offseason, and put on a little weight," said Banks. "I'm trying to be more physical and do whatever I can do to get better."
Banks played in all 13 games at left cornerback in 2010 and finished the year with 54 tackles, one forced fumble and three interceptions. On the other side of the field at right cornerback, Broomfield is trying to learn from what he did wrong in 2010 so he can improve this year.
"I looked at the mistakes I made during last season and I've learned from them," said Broomfield, who started all 13 games at right cornerback last season. "I'm correcting those mistakes and working hard to get better."
Broomfield finished the year just behind Banks in tackles with 52, but forced two fumbles and had three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown against Houston that sealed the Bulldogs 47-24 win.
Other than the miscommunication in Saturday morning's practice, the corners made some good plays as well. During a one-on-one drill Broomfield intercepted a pass and on the final play of practice freshman Kendrick Market intercepted a Dax Prescott pass.
"With the exception of us not paying attention on two critical plays, the players are working hard and playing with a lot of effort," said Smith. "They are handling practice well, with good attitudes, but we have got to be more focused."
"Practice went OK today, but we made some mistakes," said Broomfield. "We can't miscommunicate because it will put us in a bad scenario where we give up touchdowns."
Banks and Broomfield are experienced in their positions and are sure to have a good year for the Bulldogs.
"They (Banks and Broomfield) have played a lot of football and they are only juniors, so we expect both of them to have a big year," said MSU head coach Dan Mullen. "All of our guys in our secondary have got a lot experience and we are needing that to be a strong point of our team."
Although the Bulldogs have experience on the corners, senior Marvin Bure, who played in all 13 games on special teams, and senior Damein Anderson, who recorded 12 tackles in 2010, are there if needed and some younger guys like Market could make a name for themselves whenever they hit the field. However, with Banks and Broomfield healthy, the Bulldogs should be ready to shutdown some passing games when the season arrives.