Why Mike Leach used 'improve' a total of 11 times describing Mississippi State football

Rashad Milligan
Mississippi Clarion Ledger
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"Improve" was the word used most often by Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach after Thursday's practice.

The second-year Bulldogs coach used the seven-letter word 11 times in the first 4:40 minutes of his media availability.

He used it when describing the development of his offensive line, specifically Charles Cross, LaQuinston Sharp, Scott Lashley, Kwatrivous Johnson and Kameron Jones. Mississippi State ended the 2020 season ranked second-to-last in the SEC getting sacked 30 times for a loss of 218 yards.

Leach used "improvement" as he talked about the Bulldogs' ability to build consistency. He used it when describing the program's ability to run the ball this season.

Most importantly, Leach believes the Bulldogs have  "improved" from last season. The Bulldogs went 3-7 in the regular season of an all-conference schedule, before ending it  with a 28-26 win over Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl. MSU's defense gave up an average of 28.1 points per game in 2020.

"I think they've improved," Leach said of this season's defense. "I think we have a little more depth. We've got some more people contributing. Then, it gets tough to say because, you know, offensively you're improving, too. So you hit some stalemates there for a little bit. But I think both sides are better than last year by a significant margin."

The Bulldogs arepreparing for the team's second intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday. Leach said he wants the scrimmage to remain competitive with consistency in performance that isn't "streaky or in spurts."

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"We'd like to see a steady improvement from the first one," Leach said.

"Execution from both sides of the ball, which pretty much means both sides of the ball are pissed because they would've liked to have more plays and would've liked to have been more explosive and had more success on their side of the ball."

After Saturday's scrimmage, the Bulldogs will go into what Leach called "mock game week" where practices mirror the week of an actual game week. From mock game week, Leach said the staff will have to make "some decisions" regarding the depth chart. 

Mississippi State kicks off the season Sept. 4 in Davis Wade Stadium against Louisiana Tech. Kickoff is 3 p.m.

Contact Rashad Milligan at 601-862-6198 or Jmilligan@gannett.com. Follow @RashadMilligan on Twitter.

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