STARKVILLE — Mississippi State receiver Leon Berry knows he and his teammates need to have short memories.
With another road game coming up for Mississippi State on Saturday at Vanderbilt, Berry said the Bulldogs need to put a 49-24 loss to Auburn behind them quickly.
“We have to forget about this,” Berry said. “We have to get a win (at Vanderbilt).”
Berry, a transfer from East Mississippi Community College, had a much better game against Auburn with four catches for 60 yards than he did when Jackson State shut him out in the season opener.
With both sides of the football struggling at Auburn, Berry tried to do the best he could to keep everyone”s moral up.
He tried to encourage sophomore quarterback Chris Relf after an interception that was returned for a touchdown and even tried to pump up the defense.
“When I got to the sideline, I saw (Relf) and told him to keep his head up and just forget about (the interception),” Berry said. “Our defense was really down because they gave up a lot of rushing yards. I kept going to our defensive side to tell them to keep working hard and pull through.”
With back-to-back road games in the Southeastern Conference, this is a critical part of the schedule for Mississippi State (1-1).
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said on his Sunday teleconference he believes the Bulldogs will come back to practice hard this week in getting ready for Vanderbilt.
Mullen saw the disappointment on the players” faces after the loss and hopes that serves as motivation.
“They”ve put a lot of work in getting ready for the season and for that game,” Mullen said. “With the competitiveness of our guys, they are going to be excited to get back out on the field and get ready to clean things up.
“One thing since I”ve been here, we”ve asked our guys to give great effort on every play. You look at the game with 36 seconds to play and we stop them on a fourth and 1 when we”re down a couple of scores. Our guys never stopped giving a great effort. When you have guys who give great effort, you can coach the rest of that stuff. They did what we asked them to do.”
Sometimes even a good effort doesn”t equal a win so Mullen said it”s up to the coaching staff to put the players in better positions to make plays.
He seemed to be most concerned about the lack of adjustments on defense against Auburn, which had 589 yards of total offense.
“We gave up some really big plays so we need to fix that on the defensive side of the ball,” Mullen said. “We just need to make sure we are utilizing our personnel defensively the right way and the right situations.”
With so many young players contributing on defense, Mullen said it may mean simplifying some things so they can be in better position to make plays.
n Mostly healthy: Mullen said it appears MSU came out of the Auburn game healthy.
There was an issue with redshirt freshman defensive end Nick Bell, who left the field with ice on his knee. Preliminary indications were Bell had a grade one medial collateral strain.
Mullen didn”t elaborate on Bell”s status on Sunday as he waited to get an update from the trainers.