Why defensive coordinator Zach Arnett was not happy with Mississippi State's football scrimmage

Tyler Horka
Mississippi Clarion Ledger

Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach has been upbeat about his team's performance in spring practices.

He hasn't had too many negative things to say about the Bulldogs as they go through the spring session for the first time in two years. The same can't be said about Leach's defensive coordinator. 

While Leach applauded the MSU offense for its effort last Saturday in the first scrimmage of the spring, Zach Arnett went on and on about how poorly the defense played. 

"We’re not a very good defense right now," Arnett said. "We didn’t play very good.”

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Arnett has a reputation for never being satisfied. He generally asks for more from his players than other defensive coordinators around the country might. 

He said the scrimmage certainly didn't meet his standard, and he said it shouldn't have met anyone else's either. 

"If the offense goes up and down the field, that’s bad defense," Arnett said. 

Arnett is demanding much more from his unit leading up to the Maroon and White Spring Game on April 17. Rising junior safety Collin Duncan knows that. 

“I feel like these past few weeks, the offense has gotten in the end zone a little bit too much,” Duncan said. 

Mississippi State wide receiver Jaden Walley beats Collin Duncan on a route during a spring scrimmage.

Arnett said it isn't all on Duncan and his teammates. He said it starts with coaching, and he admitted he hasn't done a perfect job of it over the last few weeks. 

"If they’re not doing the right thing, that means we’ve done a really poor job of coaching, number one, right?" Arnett said. "Me at the top of that list, I’ve done a poor job. So it’s not the players’ fault. It’s our fault as coaches." 

Ultimately, though, the players still have to get it done between the white lines. Arnett can only do so much. He said the next week and a half will be spent making sure what happens at Davis Wade Stadium on April 17 is much better than what took place there two weeks prior. 

"Any time you’re in a scrimmage, however many plays you do, there’s going to be some good plays," Arnett said. "But there’s way too many negative plays. It’s hard to be good on defense when you give up a whole bunch of negative plays. Assignment errors, big, explosive plays given up, you’re not going to be very good on defense."

Contact Tyler Horka at thorka@gannett.com. Follow @tbhorka on Twitter. To read more of Tyler's work, subscribe to the Clarion Ledger today!