He's not ever going to be the type of runner Relf is, but I believe he can be effective enough running to keep defenses off balance. Last year he indicated he didn't have the whole playbook open when he played, and that's changed now.
Last season, Dan Mullen tried to develop a two-quarterback system at Mississippi State. Chris Relf was considered the run-first guy. Tyler Russell was the throw-first quarterback.
Unfortunately for Russell, he feels his role became pretty obvious to opposing defenses:
“The defense knew I was going to throw the ball. It kind of sucked for me, but I had to do what I had to do.”
When’s the last time you saw a player admit to the media and fans that his role “sucked?”
With Mullen suggesting that a two-quarterback system could return — which is poppycock considering how Relf developed at the end of last season — Russell has been working on the foot-driven part of his game.
“I know I’m faster,” he told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “Maybe not faster, but quicker,” he admitted.
We don’t expect Mullen to re-implement a true two-QB system unless Relf regresses quite a bit early in the season. But even if that does come to pass, it’s hard to imagine opponents being too fearful of Russell the Runner. It’s likely that he would still be viewed as “the passing quarterback” in Starkville. And as Russell knows, it can “suck” when the other guy knows what you’re going to do before you do it.