No one could blame Bob Shoop if he wanted to give a few disclaimers headed into the upcoming football season.
Mississippi State’s defensive coordinator, who orchestrated one of the school’s stingiest units of all time last season, has plenty of excuses he could throw out there if he wanted to go ahead and lay the groundwork for any potential future struggles.
His best interior lineman (Jeffery Simmons) and his best defensive end (Montez Sweat) from last year were first-round National Football League Draft picks last April. His best defensive back (Johnathan Abram) was also in that mix. Add in defensive end Gerri Green, who was taken in the sixth round of the draft back in the spring, and more than a quarter of Shoop’s starting defense of a year ago are now professional football players. In all, Shoop’s defense lost seven of the 11 starters off of last year’s group.
For more on the defensive outlook for the Bulldogs, plus sports editor Danny P. Smith's take on assistant coaches on staff with head coaching experience, see Sunday's Starkville Daily News.