MSU Position Group Breakdown: QB

MSU Position Group Breakdown: QB

This week I will outline a different position group every day. I will give my guesses at the starting lineups as well as some analysis for each group.

Starter

Tyler Russell (SR)
There is no doubt who MSU will have behind center for this years opener. 5th year senior Tyler Russell returns from a nice junior year that saw him toss for 2,897 yards and 24 TD’s. It was a heck of a year as he rewrote some MSU single season passing records and his senior year provides his chances to break more records. In my opinion, Russell is the best pure passer in MSU history. He struggled with consistency at times (Egg and Gator Bowls) but his leadership is an asset on the field. Tyler’s career arc since high school reminds me a lot of Jason Campbell. If that comparison rings true, Tyler will have his best year at MSU and position himself to be drafted in next years NFL Draft.

#2

Dak Prescott (soph)
Last year was our first glance at the dual threat backup. In his RS freshman year he was used much like Tim Tebow was used in his freshman year at Florida under Mullen. Dak was a short yardage specialist and wasn’t given a lot of opportunities to throw the ball. Last year he threw for 194 yards with 4 TD’s and added 118 rushing yards with 4 rushing TD’s. He will challenge Tyler Russell all year long and I expect an expanded role in the offense. Next year is his year and this year is his last year of prep work.

#3

Damien Williams (true freshman)
As a 2013 signee, Williams provides much needed quality depth but probably not much more. Williams was a standout dual threat in the Louisiana 5A division which put him against top talent weekly. At 6’1 220, he is physically ready for SEC ball but he needs a redshirt year. Barring terrible injuries at QB, Williams will get a year to learn.

Analysis

You have to feel good about a starter with as much experience as Russell. He has been through it all and has a chance to be one of MSU’s most beloved with a big year. Right behind him, many fans are chomping at the bit to see what Dak can do. Dak is the prototype for Mullen’s system and hopefully he gets to show a bit more in an expanded offensive role. When you look at these 3 QB’s, its easy to realize that this is the best QB depth chart, talent wise, MSU has had in a long time if not ever.

Jameon and Quay Say “What Up” From Poolside

This is an old picture that was brought to my attention from the Instagram account of Jameon Lewis (I’m not even on Instagram). You should also note that is Quay Evans in the photo with him. It’s good to see that the guys get at least a little rest and relaxation after what Coach Balis puts them through in workouts. I have previously written an article praising Jameon’s work ethic.

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Now for another reason I posted this picture. I constantly hear from Rebel fans that Quay isn’t a hard worker and is lazy. Some MSU fans are gullible enough to buy into that nonsense. Does that picture look like a lazy DT to you? Going off what I’ve heard he is doing great in workouts and that photo sure reinforces it. Some of these same fans I previously mentioned like to say Quay doesn’t work hard in the classroom. If you were in attendance at the spring game, you would have heard it announced on the jumbotron that he made the honor roll.

When people try to tear down players they’ve never met in their life, I like to respond with facts. When any rival fan tells you “what they’ve heard about Quay”, point them to this article. I’m expecting big things from both Jameon and Quay this fall.

Phil Steele Smokes Peyote

Phil Steele Smokes Peyote

Phil Jackson told us, “well first of all, you don’t smoke peyote” but I’m not so sure Phil Steele hasn’t found a way. No one appreciates the mountain of information he brings more than me. One of my favorite things to do is find the head scratchers and wonder what recreational substances Phil Steele was using while he made these predictions.

Steele outlined 14 teams that have the makeup to win a national title and they are: Alabama, Notre Dame, Florida, Ohio St, Florida St, Oregon, LSU, South Carolina, Michigan, Stanford, North Carolina, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, and Northwestern.

The ones I have major issues with:

Notre Dame- Give me a break. They lost their elite talent to the draft, their QB to suspension, and they got absolutely boat raced in the NC last year.

Florida- Really good team that doesn’t have enough offense. Lost a lot from last year, particularly at RB but their road through the SEC will provide 2-3 losses and then throw in FSU…

Oregon- They have the players but lost Chip Kelly. They have to prove to me than can win without him.

Northwestern- good football team that had nowhere near the athletes needed to win a NC. Not even close.

Vanderbilt- I love what James Franklin has done at Vandy. That said, Vandy and a NC, lolololololololololololololololololol.

Now a few tidbits if interest to MS folks:

-Jordan Mathews and Mike Evans beating Donte Montcrief for the 1rst team All-SEC WR is insanity.

-How in the world is CJ Johnson 4th team and a guy who has never played a snap (Robert Nkemdiche) ahead of him on the 3rd team?

-If there are 4 centers better than Dillon Day they will have to show it because I don’t believe it.

-Tyler Russell not making the 4th team but Jeff Driskell making any pre season SEC honor is nuts.

Anonymous Coach Speak Response

Anonymous Coach Speak Response

Here is the MSU excerpt from Saturday Down South’s anonymous coach speak feature.

Mississippi State
“I’m thinking they [defense] are pretty good, or at least a lot better. On defense, they just aren’t as athletic as the top teams. Our defensive big guys were bigger than some of their offensive big guys. They can get pounded up front. Linebackers are average athletically. I think schematically they are always going to put up some points. It all depends on whether they can put up a defense that can stop people. It’s not effort, they just don’t have the guns…The quarterback, Tyler Russell, I think most people like him – he can be a little erratic but has some natural ability. He didn’t play very well against some of the better teams teams in the league. But he’s a good player.”

I’m going to beak this down line by line in hopes to add my thoughts and make it more insightful for MSU fans.

I’m thinking they [defense] are pretty good, or at least a lot better.
I agree. Our scheme will be an improvement over last years with Geoff Collins at the helm.

On defense, they just aren’t as athletic as the top teams.

I agree to an extent. They aren’t ultra elite as far as athleticism but they are plenty athletic enough. The read and react scheme didn’t compliment athleticism and was a big part of this issue.

Our defensive big guys were bigger than some of their offensive big guys.

MSU doesn’t have a freakishly huge OL. They are long and move well but aren’t maulers outside of Gabe Jackson. The spread scheme doesn’t suite the guys that can’t move, hence MSU has a slimmer OL. Through smart blocking schemes their athleticism can make up for a lack of size. Miss direction and screens can keep a powerful DL from just bulling ahead. In obvious short yardage situations this could still be a concern but I expect this to be the best MSU OL since 2010.


They can get pounded up front

The only teams that I see this as a concern are Bama and LSU. Lets face it, everyone gets pounded by these 2 to an extent. Doesn’t mean it’s an automatic loss either.

Linebackers are average athletically

We all knew Cam Lawrence’s value wasn’t being bigger,stronger, and faster. Deonte Skinner played out of position at weak side LB. Benardrick McKinney is a freak but was a freshman. I’m sure he was doing too much thinking, especially with the scheme. I expect him to take his play to the next level this year. Skinner is much better suited for strong side LB and is a major upgrade athletically at that position next year over Lawerence. Matt Wells is arguably the most athletic guy on the team, so that is no concern on the weak side.

I think schematically they are always going to put up some points.

I agree with this as well. In 4 years Mullen’s offense is putting up an average of 27.4 points a game in the SEC West which isn’t too shabby. Not earth shattering but better than they’ve done in recent years before his arrival. Scoring more points against the top SEC teams is desired though.

It all depends on whether they can put up a defense that can stop people

This will ring true this year. If the defense can make stops and force turnovers, they’ll be ok. Collins strives for negative plays which should lead to more 3 and outs. They had specifically struggled with spread teams so that will be what to watch this year.

It’s not effort, they just don’t have the guns…

I think they could play with more effort and fire this year. I also completely agree with needing more guns. MSU’s offense needs some guys to step up as explosive playmakers badly. I think the most potential to create more explosive plays are at WR (Jameon Lewis, Robert Johnson, Joe Morrow, Brandon Holloway, or Fred Ross).

The quarterback, Tyler Russell, I think most people like him – he can be a little erratic but has some natural ability. He didn’t play very well against some of the better teams team sin the league. But he’s a good player.

Most preseason articles talking SEC QB’s have showed Tyler some love. It’s deserved and I honestly think he has much more ceiling he can reach. His career arc really reminds me of Jason Campbell, all the way from high school to college. Campbell’s SR year is when he really took off. Against the top teams he did struggle as did the rest of the team. He needs to find that next level where he can elevate the guys around him. He also needs to work on his consistency as this coach said. Tyler was in the zone for the Tennessee game but was beyond erratic for Ole Miss and Northwestern. One thing about Tyler is that I have 100% faith that he will use his subpar performances as fuel to improve this offseason.

Gamecock Commit Says What?

Gamecock Commit Says What?

Nothing better in recruiting than interviews with 16-17 year olds. They just say the darnedest things. Every year we here wild comments from these young men as they field questions from all kinds of media looking for a sound bite.

The latest comments making its rounds are those of 2015 highly touted DE Arden Key. The Lithonia, GA prospect told Palmetto Sports that the reason he picked USC over UGA was because,

“The academic part, it’s like you have to try to fail.”

I honestly believe Spurrier chuckled when he first heard this. Now the media is running with this and spinning it that Key trashed USC academics and alumni won’t be happy. Give me a freaking break.

The only people upset with that comment would be the Birkenstock shufflers (My favorite Bo Boundsism), who thinks the English Department is more important than football to the University. I honestly think Key gave praise and his comment will help recruiting.

Lets establish one thing. Unless you majored in something very difficult and specialized, there isn’t a dimes worth of difference in equivalent degrees across the SEC. The difference comes in the individual and what they do with their diplomas.

Moving forward, I’m sure Key was given the outline of what kind of academic support he’d receive at all schools he was recruited by. He obviously feels that USC had the best system to help him graduate. He may not have put it as eloquently as he should but what is the big deal on that?

My 2 cents is that all the folks jumping on these comments need to get over themselves. USC is a good degree and if he feels that their support system makes it easy on him as a football player, more power to him. In a few years when he makes his first sack in front of 80k at Williams Bryce Stadium, who is gonna not cheer because he isn’t being challenged academically?