STARKVILLE – If there’s bad news, it’s that Mississippi State lost four starters off its defense, including Titus Brown, the heart and soul of the unit.
Fortunately for the Bulldogs, there’s far more good news. And, it’s two-fold.
First, seven starters return from a team that was fifth in the SEC in yards allowed (331.8). Second, included in the mix is last year’s leading tackler, Jamar Chaney.
The senior middle linebacker from Fort Pierce, Fla., who originally signed with Georgia following a standout prep career, was credited with 89 stops during last season’s 8-5 campaign, including four behind the line of scrimmage.
Two years ago, he registered 66 tackles, more than doubling the 31 he totaled his freshman year.
Now, more than just tackles will be needed from this 6-foot-1, 236-pound fitness management major. He’ll also be counted upon to be one the team leaders, filling the void Brown vacated.
“We just want to finish better,” he said of this year’s expectations. “We won eight games and went to the Liberty Bowl, but we want to go out and prove we are even better this year.”
Chaney will be counted upon heavily to do his part. And he welcomes the challenge.
He spent nearly the entire summer in Starkville working on improving his strength and speed, as well as studying opposing offenses.
That preparation, he notes, will put him ahead of schedule when the Bulldogs hit the practice field for the first time on Sunday night. And it’s also a new level of preparation that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the coaching staff.