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MSU’s Offensive Production & Needed Improvements

Mississippi State
Content provided by All Things Maroon – A MSU and SEC blog.

dan-mullen-p1Well guys, as many of the SEC coaches, and Dan Mullen himself have suggested, routine is what the MSU team needs now. So, with that, I figured that we would do the same here on the blog.

Before the season started, there was much debate concerning whether or not Dan Mullen could turn the corner withhis second year Bulldog team. Just evaluating MSU’s schedule, had many delaying their positive forecasts for 2011 season, when MSU would not be facing the nation’s 4th toughest line up. Here we are10 weeks later, and MSU has dominated their non-conference slate, and picked up a few wins that no one in the media expected they would. State stands in at 7-2 overall, 3-2 in conference, and a #20national ranking in the BCS standings. I myself predicted the Dawgs to finish 8-4 over their regular season stretch, and with 7 wins already under their belt, MSU is in position to reach for more than just 8wins. The remainder of the season for State, includes a trip to #6 Bama, a home match up with #18 Arkansas, and struggling rival Ole Miss. Even though the Maroon Nation is experiencing some of the biggest highs in a decade, Mullen and the Bulldogs cannot allow complacency to set in, considering that not advancing on their season’s success thus far, could result in disappointment. Dan Mullen’s motto is ‘play with relentless effort’, and I have no doubt in my mind that he and his staff will coach the same way this week, and next. In doing that, Mullen has already mentioned that he andhis staff would spend this week evaluating areas that they can improve in, be Offensively, Defensively, or on Special Teams. Along those same lines, Mullen mentioned examining what was working, and what wasn’t working so far this season, in determining whether or not those items would be implemented for the remainder of 2010. I figured that today, we could discuss the Offense’s production, and some areas of improvement.

Here is where MSU ranks in Offensive categories, both nationally and in the SEC:

Total Off. 383 ypg (56th) SEC- 8th
Rush Off. 218 ypg (15th) SEC- 2nd
Pass Off. 164 ypg (100th) SEC- 10th
Scoring Off. 28 ppg (57th) SEC- 9th
Time of Poss. 31:00 min (34th) SEC- 2nd

Offensive Improvements

There’s no secret that the strength of this MSU team, is running the football. Even though, I think we can all agree that fact slips Les Keonning’s mind sometimes.If there is anything besides the fundamentals and execution that play into an Offense’s success-not just in a game, but on individual series, it has to be the element of rhythm. In my opinion, the only thing that has kept MSU from being 8-1, and dominant on Offense, has been the lack of rhythm at times. Now, by dominant, I’m not talking Oregon or Auburn type numbers, but game-controlling, clock eating, wear ya’ down, Offense, that comes away with points. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it doesn’t have to earn style points, but it does have to move the chains. There is nothing more demoralizing than running the play clock down, and running for 6 or 7 yards, followed by a no-huddle quick snap, and dose of the same damage on the ground. But, it’s those terribly timed pass attempts that kill that rhythm. So, the main improvements I want to see with the Offense, are in the areas of the passing game and play-calling. As I’ve mentioned in the recent weeks, Keonning has done an excellent job of killing drives before they’ve even started. As a run-first, run-strong Offense, the last thing we need to do is throw on 1st downs. That killed us at LSU, and almost cost us vs UAB andUK. I understand the comfort in throwing on 1st, because it gives you 2 downs to make up for the yardage if you don’t earn yards. But, when your starting QB fails to complete 60% of his passes, then down-by-down play-calling has to be smarter. Here’s my keys to improving the Offense:

  • Lower the amount of throws on 1st Downs.
  • Implement shorter pass plays that are extensions of the running game (shuffle passes, RB/WR screens, TE drags).
  • Never have QBs Tyler Russell or Chris Relf throw out of empty, shotgun sets. For QBs who are learning and growing in the system, nothing is more beneficial than an emergency receiver, or blocker. Not only that, but having RBs in the back field before the snap, gives the opposing Defense the appearance of run, and removes some predictability.
  • On short yardage situations (3 yds or shorter), (A) stay away from plays that require time to develop, such as counters and read plays. Defenses know we are running, and allowing them more time to penetrate and eat up blockers, only hurts us. No hesitation.(B) (Wild Packages) I’d stay away from having a different player at signal caller on 3rd and short situations. Different players have different voices, and rhythms of cadence. Either go silent on the snap, or don’t go at all. Why get fancy and cost yourself 5 yards on a false start, when Relf can get the yards for you. I’m for the Rabid Dawg, but snap counts do not need to implemented on those type plays.
  • Get Relf more comfortable throwing on the run. He had two poor throws on the run vs UK, but he’s too big of a threat for the coaches not to roll him out. Also, since Relf has shown that he lacks that internal clock, that a QB must have in the pocket, it should cut down on sacks, pressures, and the mistakes that accompany.
  • Continue to keep Bumphis involved. Even if he’s not catching the ball, let the kid run it, and possibly throw it.
  • Get RB LaDarius Perkins the ball in open space. Shuffle passes WR/RB screens. We’ve seen the kid’s explosiveness, but he hasn’t been allowed to be the game changer that he could be.
  • Use TE Brandon Henderson and WR Chris Smithmore. Many teams are targeting their coverage on Heavens, Bumphis, and Clark, but we have to get Henderson more involved down the stretch, andSmith has to be given some chances to develop.

Rushing Leaders

  • RB Vick Ballard- 619 yds, 6.7 avg, 12 TDs
  • QB Chris Relf- 507 yds, 4.1 avg, 3 TDs
  • RB LaDarius Perkins- 377 yds, 5.5 avg, 3 TDs
  • RB Robert Elliot- 173 yds, 3.7 yds
  • WR Chad Bumphis- 126 yds, 7.4 yds
  • WR Michael Carr- 3 for 39 yds, 13 avg

Receiving Leaders

  • WR Chad Bumphis- 502 yds, 14.3 avg,4 TDs
  • WR Brandon Heavens- 264 yds, 17.6 avg, 2 TDs
  • WR Arceto Clark- 222 yds, 13.9, 2 TDs
  • WR Chris Smith- 9 for 87 yds, 9.7 avg
  • TE Brandon Henderson- 7 for 55 yds, 7.9 avg

Passing Leaders

  • QB Chris Relf- 926 yds, 7.12 avg, 53%, 7 TDs, 3 INTs
  • QB Tyler Russell- 555 yds, 9.25 avg, 58%, 4 TDs, 5 INTs

What are some areas that you would like to see us improve on-on Offense?

Agree or Disagree with my assessment?

Mullen’s Wednesday Quotes on the Loss of Nick Bell

“Right now we’re trying to keep our team focused and in a routine for them, that their lives can stay as normal as possible…We’ll just try to keep the team together as much as possible. So they have their coaches and their football family to help deal with it…There is no right or wrong way to feel. That routine of doing things allows you to not just sit and get lost in the emotions. It allows you to go out and do things you normally do and hopefully feel like a normal person as you try to deal with this grief…When you’re in this, you know what a ‘football family’ is and how much goes into it. And how much these players dedicate themselves to the family. It’s been a great outpouring of support from our fans, and from other coaches around the nation. Because they know how hard it can be…They knew he was sick, to see this as something that’s not a sudden accident, that they knew was there, it puts a lot of things in perspective for our players. We try to build them up to be so big, so fast, so strong, so tough, they can do everything. This ‘warrior’ we create or whatever it is. To see how precious life is, and how fast thing can change, that is something our players are dealing with. How precious life is, every day is right now, and to take advantage of every gift and day God gives them on the earth.”


______MSU & SEC News______

There will be a memorial service for Nick Bell, tomorrow at Lee Hall, at 6:30pm.

Story on MSU’s Derek Sherrod, and his NFL future. Link

Former MSU Hoopster Phil Turner suspended at Delta State. Link

Chris Low talks toughest and weakest schedules left. Link

Bama and LSU match up. Link

Did yall hear about UGA’s Def. Coordinator Todd Grantham’s ‘choke’ signal? Idiot. Link& Picture


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