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Mississippi State football assistant Matt Brock promoted to defensive coordinator

Jan 2, 2023; Tampa, FL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Matthew Bailey (2) chases Mississippi State Bulldogs running back Simeon Price (22) during the 2023 ReliaQuest Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Brock’s brief trial as defensive play-caller in Mississippi State’s bowl victory over Illinois was a smashing success, leading the Bulldogs to promote the linebackers coach to defensive coordinator.

Brock previously served under late coach Mike Leach at Washington State for two seasons as special teams coordinator, and came to Starkville with Leach in 2020.

Recently hired head coach Zach Arnett, who was promoted from defensive coordinator last month, elevated Brock to coordinator after tasking him with calling defensive plays for the 19-10 ReliaQuest Bowl victory over Illinois on Monday.

“Matt Brock is a rising star in the coaching profession who has made a tremendous impact on our defense the last three seasons.” Arnett said. “I’m very confident in his ability to lead the unit, and I look forward to watching it continue to progress under his direction.”

The Bulldogs had seven sacks and held Illinois to 35 rushing yards.

“I’m grateful to be in this position and appreciative to Coach Arnett for this opportunity to lead our defense,” Brock said. “I can’t wait to get to work in this new role and continue competing with our guys and build off our program’s success.”

Linebackers Jett Johnson and Nathaniel Watson finished 1-2 in tackles in the SEC and plan to return in 2023 as the foundation of a defense that finished fifth in the conference at 344.5 yards allowed per game.

–Field Level Media