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SEC Football Preview: Mississippi State preparing for year two of Leach era

Published: Aug. 1, 2021 at 8:28 PM CDT
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STARKVILLE, Mississippi (KBTX) - Mike Leach’s debut at Mississippi State was a memorable one as the Bulldogs beat defending national champion LSU 44-34 in Baton Rouge to start the 2020 season. The Bulldogs then lost four straight games.

Mississippi State ended the 2020 season with a 4-7 record that included victories in the final two games against Missouri and over Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl. Heading into the 2021 season the Bulldogs do see signs of improvement. Mississippi State defensive back Aaron Brule said, “I’ve seen high energy from everybody on the team. Coach Leach has given us great advice on what to do this offseason in order to be even better for next season and just all the guys being on one tune and getting going.”

The Bulldogs were fifth in the SEC last season in passing offense putting up 296 yards per game and 12th in total offense averaging 340 yards per game. Expect those numbers to go up in 2021 as the team gets more experience in Leach’s offensive system. “It’s a reps-based offense. You have to get a bunch of guys in it. Having spring ball and coming up on camp starting here soon we’re excited,” Mississippi State wide receiver Austin Williams said. “I think everybody is getting a better feel, a better understanding. Like for installs now we know what we are doing, done it plenty of times, ready to roll,”

Mississippi State will be at Kyle Field to face Texas A&M on October 2. It will be the first time Leach has coached in the stadium since 2008 when he was the head coach at Texas Tech. “Thrilled to come back to Kyle Field. I think it’s one of the greatest places in America to play. Just the environment and the magnitude of people and enthusiasm there and their traditions,” Leach said. “I always like coming to Kyle Field and look forward to it this year. We had some great games in Kyle Field over the years.”

Mississippi State will open the 2021 season on September 4 against Louisiana Tech in Starkville.

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