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Coaching experience helps Grantham install defense


Scott Walters



STARKVILLE -- Todd Grantham's tour of the country as a defensive assistant coach has given him a total of 27 years of coaching experience; it's also given him an intimate knowledge of how to install his defense. 


Grantham's frequent moves around the coaching ranks -- his current term as Mississippi State's defensive coordinator being his fourth employer since his boss Dan Mullen was hired by MSU in 2009 -- has given him multiple opportunities to teach his system from scratch. He has complimented MSU's players picking up his scheme, a task that he's made more efficient over time. 


"I think a little of it is, as a coach, you're a teacher and you're always trying to improve yourself. As you do that, you're always looking at stop one, stop two, stop three and evaluating the things you did well," Grantham said, "and the things you need to improve on. Also, as you move through it, you have a feel for, in college football or in this league, you need these things, so you implement that." 


Linebacker Dez Harris described the most recent evolution of Grantham's learning process as a simple series of walkthroughs and installation sessions, "starting off with the basics.' 


Before he implements the system in earnest, Grantham takes the spring to learn the players he will put into it. 


"I would say you take the players you have and say this is the way we're going to play, so these are the things we're going to do," Grantham said. "We looked at every player through the spring and saw this is how we're going to play things." 




Freshman receiver in position 


The benefits of a football signee skipping the final semester of his senior season to enroll in college early have been thoroughly documented as they relate to early playing time. MSU head coach Dan Mullen is seeing them play out for receiver Austin Williams. 


"Obviously, getting here in January was a huge advantage for him because he knows what he's doing out there on the field. He's able to go get viable reps," Mullen said. "I think that is such a big advantage for him. He's a guy trying to take advantage of that. He's still adjusting to the speed of the game, has to learn technique and fundamentals, but he's a smart player and has a great work ethic. You'll see him continually improve as he learns the game." 




Peters continues to grow 


MSU cornerbacks coach Terrence Buckley, looking back on it all, knows the Herculean task MSU gave him Jamal Peters moving him from safety to corner. 


The highly touted safety prospect out of Bassfield High School, in his third preseason camp with MSU, is beginning to show the promise that prompted the position change. 


"He developed a lot, but he still has a ways to go which is very, very exciting," Buckley said. "It takes a full two years to know what people are going to do to you and then have the ability to anticipate." 


Peters is in the mix at the cornerback position but has stiff competition in Cam Danztler and Tolando Cleveland, among others. Dantzler announced his presence with two interceptions in the Maroon & White Game while Cleveland, praised for his leadership, is returning from a knee injury that kept him out for the entirety of the 2016 season. 


Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter, @Brett_Hudson


Scott is sports copy editor and reporter


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