Mississippi State experienced quite a bit of staff shakeup this offseason with Joe Moorhead’s staff set to feature five new faces to the 10-man, full-time coaching roster. The only hire that has yet to be officially announced is the addition of linebackers coach Chris Marve, but that is expected to come before the start of spring camp in Starkville.

Before the Bulldogs hit the field for the first time this spring, Mississippi State made four of the program’s new assistant coaches available to the media this week. Here are the comments they provided regarding their decision to join the MSU program and the players they inherit in Starkville.

Tight ends coach Tony Hughes offered up these comments during his media availability:

On coaching tight ends …

“I am excited to be able to coach tight ends. In Coach Moorhead’s offense, the tight ends have a very unique responsibility. They have to be blockers and they also have to be receivers. They do a lot of different motions, movements and different things like that. When you go back and look at all the tape from last year, they performed well as a group and unit. You have most of that unit coming back with Farrod [Green], Dontae [Jones] and [Brad] Cumbest and [Geor’quarius] Spivey. I look forward to the opportunity of working with those guys and improving them from what their play was last year, which was really good at times.”

On Farrod Green …

“Well, he should be the leader of the group. He is the older guy, the elder statesmen, played a lot and a fifth-year senior. He has grown up in the position. I will be leaning on him heavily.”

On the options at tight end …

“I think that is what Coach Moorhead wants in that position. Athletes that can do a variety of things, not just a good blocker or a good pass receiver, but guys that can do a lot of good things is something he wants in that position.”

On expectations of [Brad] Cumbest in the spring with him also playing baseball …

“That is the plan and what we have talked about early on. We will just have to see on a day by day basis how much he can get out there and practice.”

On [Geor’quarius] Spivey and [Brad] Cumbest as tight ends and what they can bring to the offense …

“They have got tremendous size. They are both excellent athletes and they have a tremendous upside with being that big and athletic. Sometimes you hate to use the word raw, but there is some development there. But that is the kind of program we want to be. We want to take two guys like that and develop them into two of the best tight ends in the conference.”

On recruiting in Mississippi …

“Recruiting is full force in Mississippi. You have a lot more out of state schools coming into our state now recruiting the same kids we recruit. That makes it a lot more difficult to fight off. We have to intensify what we do to try to keep the best athletes at home.”

Receivers coach, Michael Johnson

Everything Coach Johnson had to say during his media availability:

On what attracted him to Mississippi State …

I knew that Coach [Joe] Moorhead runs a great offense, so that was attractive. I also played in the SEC, the highest level of competition that you could probably play in college football. The fan-base and how passionate people are about football in the south was attractive to me as well.

On if it was hard to leave Oregon …

It was tough. Oregon was a great place, but I thought it was time to make a change and have a new challenge. I’m excited to be here and take on the role of trying to develop these wide receivers.”

On impressions of the wide receivers …

They work. I think they’re a group that’s very attentive. I think they want to get better. They’re eager and they’re listening. They just want to have an opportunity to play good football and be better people. That’s what they’re going to get.”

On how much film he has watched on the WR group …

I’ve watched a little bit. I’ve seen a lot of the cut-ups and wide-outs as we’ve been going to through the plays. I’ve kind of watched them and I think they’ve done okay. There’s room for improvement. What we’re going to try to do as an offense is do what we do, better.”

On excitement for starting spring practice next week …

I’m excited. I love being on the field, that’s one of the things that I like about coaching. Being able to go on the field and on the grass and coach football. We want to be competitive and we’re going to be competitive. I think we can improve in that area and just try to uphold our end of the bargain on this football team.”

On knowledge of the staff and players …

“As a coach, you know coaches. I knew a couple of guys. I’ve heard of a couple guys. I recruited Stephen Guidry when I was at Oregon, so I knew him. The other guys I didn’t know. I’m excited about what I see. I think the potential is there. Like I said earlier, there’s room for improvement in a lot of different areas where I think I can help. I’m excited about the challenge.

On how he wants to mold the WR group …

“I think that where they are, is good. What I want to do is help them improve fundamentally and technically. I want them to increase their football IQ as a position to make them a better player and slow the game down a little bit. Every week in the SEC is a challenge. You’re going to find good defensive backs. You’re going to find competitive people. We just have to make sure that we get better fundamentally, technically, and execute better.”

On how to groom wide receivers to be better 15, 20 yards downfield?

“One thing that will help that is the way we run the ball. We should continue to run the ball the way that we run it. We should be a good play-action football team and take some shots over the field. I think it’s hard when you have to go 12, 15-play drives every single series. You do need some plays down the field with 20-yard plus gains. It will make your offense flow a little bit better.”

On working with Kylin Hill and other backs in the receiving game …

“Those guys are good. I’m a big fan of our [running] backs. I think they do a great job running the ball. I think they have the ability to get out in the backfield and catch balls. If we can stretch the field, then it’s going to create space for them and make them even better players.”

On the offense and improvement …

“Like I said before, the offense is good. We do a lot of good things conceptually. The one thing that I want to help improve with is how we do those things better. How do we get better fundamentally getting off the press? How do we do better coming off the ball, attacking defensive backs and getting vertical concepts? All of those things can improve our passing game. If we can improve in those areas, the passing game will increase and improve our running game, which will help us score more points.”

On how his background as a quarterback helps with receivers …

With receivers, I think it helps them understand the bigger picture. Being a quarterback and former quarterback coach, I think I teach wide receivers the same way. We talk about the booms taxonomy of learning, where we take things from the knowledge level and take them to the census level. This is in essence a deeper learning progression. Understanding why we do what we do helps how we fit into the big picture scheme.”

Defensive line coach, Deke Adams

https://twitter.com/HailStateFB/status/1100918136570826752

Everything Coach Adams had to say during his media availability:

On being back in Mississippi …

“It’s great. Since I’ve gotten the call from Coach [Bob] Shoop and had the opportunity to come back, it’s been phenomenal. I’m an hour away from my mom and my family, three hours away from my wife’s family so it’s been really good.”

On what attracted him to Mississippi State …

“Just being back in the home state and being close to family was big. But just being around this staff and knowing so many guys on this staff, knowing what they’re all about, what they stand for and all of that. Having the opportunity to be back in this conference was really big.”

On early impressions of the defensive line …  

“I’ll tell you that they’ve been working their behinds off. I know we lost a lot upfront. We will be tested inside early. I think the only guy that really has significant playing experience inside is Lee Autry. We’ll have to replace those guys inside, but those guys are working their behinds off and working hard. You know the edge guys, we’re pretty experienced on the edge. Hopefully those guys will continue to get better there and make a lot of headway.”

On Marquiss Spencer …

“Right now, we’re satisfied. He’ll start outside and sometimes we’ll give him, maybe in a third down, he can go inside and become the “three-technique” or something like that. But that’s stuff that we’ll do down the road. This spring, they’re all new to me and I’m new to them. It’s just about learning who they are and what they have and seeing where we can fit everything in and be successful in this defense, like they have.”

On the freshmen defensive linemen …

“It’s just to find out where they are. It’s pretty tough to come in this conference and be thrown in, especially as a defensive or offensive lineman, right away. That’s going to be the first level of work that we do. We’re just going to try to figure out where they are, what they can do, and what they’re tools are. It might be a situation where they might only play limited snaps in a game, but we’re going to find it out early. The best part about it, with the new rule [NCAA four-game red shirt rule], you can play guys for four games so we can find some things out pretty early.”

On Chauncey Rivers’ potential this season …

It’s huge. I had the opportunity to be around Chauncey [Rivers] a little bit during high school when I was at another school in this conference. I’ve known him for a while and just to watch him play and all the tape that we’ve watched up to this point, I think this is going to be a really big year for him. I’m expecting a lot out of him. I’m expecting him to lead the group because I really believe he has the most experience of the group. I’m excited about him and we’re going to work day to day to see where it goes.”

On recruiting and knowing the state of Mississippi …

 “It’s been huge. I haven’t been in this state recruiting in awhile, it’s been five or six years. A lot of the guys that were here when I left are still here and I know them all. It’ll be big. Just like one of our other coaches talked about, there’s a lot of schools coming into this state now poaching our kids. We have got to do a better job to keep them in state.”

On how guys earn playing time …

“The biggest thing with me is that there is no said order of who plays and who doesn’t play. I don’t care if you’re a freshman or senior. If the defense is better when you’re on the field, you play. That’s plain and simple. There is no order. Everybody will get their opportunity and it will work itself out. When those young guys get in, we’re going to throw them into the fire early, and see where they come out.”

On the 2018 MSU defense …

“I was extremely impressed with all of those guys. The entire defensive staff did a phenomenal job to be the No. 1 defense in the entire country. It’s hard to do that, especially in this conference. On this side of the conference, it’s tough. Coach [Bob] Shoop is a great coach. Coach [Terrell] Buckley, Coach [Brian] Baker, and all of those guys did a great job. We’re excited about keeping this trend going and continuing the defensive history here.

On the expectations of the defense …

“It’s not any different than what you put on yourself as a coach. You want to be best in the country and the best in the conference, regardless. So you’re going to work your behind off to do that. Now, it doesn’t change anything about what I do daily and what we do from a daily standpoint, the way we work, our drills. We still have to go to work. Just because the history states that “they’ve done this” doesn’t mean it’s going to happen just because you show up. So you have to show up and work every day.”

Running backs coach, Terry Richardson

Everything Coach Richardson had to say during his media availability:

On coming to Mississippi State …

“I spent a little bit of time with Joe Moorhead in 2009-10. I think we accomplished some good things while working together. So, I kept in touch with Joe [Moorhead] over the years. Obviously, I’ve been at two other places and did some pretty good things. He moved on from Fordham and Penn State and did some pretty good things. We’ve always talked about this day, getting back together and working together, so here I am.”

On how Joe Moorhead’s offense has evolved …

“We still do a lot of the same things. Obviously, the terminology has changed. For the most part, he’s still the same guy. His defense has changed and evolved that you have to address from an offensive standpoint.”

On reuniting with Joe Moorhead …

“After I left the Fiesta Bowl, when I left UConn and went to Miami, me and Joe [Moorhead] stayed in contact over the years. We would talk like once a week or once a month and every now and then. We would reach out to one another and talk about this day. He used the terminology, “Hey, if I have to get the man, I have to pay the man.” So, we finally got to that point where he had a spot opened and he called me. Obviously, with our relationship, it didn’t take me long to decide. I’ve coached in a lot of different conferences, except the SEC, so that was intriguing as well. That’s why I’m here.”

On impressions of Kylin Hill and Nick Gibson …

“Great kids. Very talented. I’m excited about those two. I don’t have any concerns about the position. Right now, we just have two scholarship guys in the spring and two guys coming in. I don’t want to slight the guys that are here: Robert Rivers and Alec Murphy, two guys that moved over from linebacker. The guys that are here working hard to earn a spot on the team are working hard also. I’m excited about spring ball and looking forward to digging my hands in and getting them better.”