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Mississippi State Routs Arkansas, Alabama Back In BCS Picture, Florida Pitches A Shutout

Mississippi State 45 – Arkansas 14

1. Bulldogs force five turnovers – MSU leads the nation in turnover margin at home.

2. Big day for LaDarius Perkins; record-setting day for Tyler Russell.

3. Another second-quarter collapse for the Razorbacks offense.

4. Arkansas eliminated from bowl contention. John L. Smith: ‘Am I stunned? No. Are you? Another question.”

Alabama 49- Western Carolina 0

5. As expected, Alabama dominant in blowing out the Catamounts.

6. AJ McCarron breaks the school record for most touchdown passes in a season.

7. With Kansas State and Oregon both losing Saturday night, Crimson Tide back in the national championship discussion.

8. Alabama fans take to the streets to celebrate the defeats.

Florida 23 – Jacksonville State 0

9. On Senior Day, seniors score all the points.  Only third Florida team in history to go 7-0 at home.

10. Third straight less-than-capacity crowd watches the Gators offense struggle.

11. Will Muschamp on quarterback Jeff Driskel’s sprained ankle.: “He’s off crutches and he’s not in a walking boot or a brace anymore, so we’ll see how it progresses through the week.”

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SEC Headlines – 6/7/12

1.  Here’s a hot one for you — Does the SEC prove that socialism works?

2.  Alabama and LSU have had the best home record in SEC football the last five years (while Ole Miss and Vandy have had the worst).  Anyone surprised?

3.  Writing for the SEC’s official site, Ron Higgins says the SEC is all about “persistent, consistent pursuit of excellence, accelerated by being surrounded by brothers and sisters always pushing to make you better.”

4.  Here’s more on the SEC’s decision to start studying concussions in college athletics.

5.  Auburn defensive end Corey Lemonier still figures to be an important man in Brian VanGorder’s new defense.

6.  Bluff called.  Syracuse is contractually obligated to play at Arkansas in the SEC/Big East Challenge after all.

7.  LSU’s assistant strength and conditioning coach is headed to Wyoming as the Cowboys’ new D-line coach.

8.  Dan Mullen will have to lean on the arm of quarterback Tyler Russell this fall.

9.  Injuries or not, it looked like Zach Stoudt was going to be the odd man out in Ole Miss’ quarterback competition.

10.  There’s nothing obvious about Texas A&M tailback Christine Michael’s role in Kevin Sumlin’s new offense.

11.  Georgia cornerback Branden Smith entered a pre-trial diversion program due to a spring break arrest for possession of marijuana.  (Deal or not, the UGA corner will likely be suspended for 10% of the season under school policy.)

12.  Garry Parrish of says Kentucky’s still the SEC favorite… even after a mass NBA exodus.

13.  Missouri hoops assistant Ernie Nestor is leaving Columbia to join Navy’s staff.

14.  In the answer to Question #1 in his mailbag, Stewart Mandel provides the simplest and best explanation for why a new playoff should include the four highest-ranked teams.

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More Pass-Happy MSU Hungrier In 2012

Dan Mullen is his upbeat, usual self when describing his 2012 Mississippi State squad.  In fact, he thinks last year’s struggles have aided his team on the attitude front:

“Now, as I look at it from the previous two years, I think there is a little bit more hunger for the guys.  Even though we’ve made it to a bowl game, won a bowl game and won three straight Egg Bowls, nobody is patting anybody on the back around here, which happened last offseason.  This is a little more edge to our guys to take that next step forward…

Our focus is how we’re going to improve, how we’re going to be different from last year.  Last year wasn’t good enough, so we have to be very different.”

Meaning?  Mullen suggests — after studying the passing games of Oregon and Oklahoma State this offseason — that the Bulldogs will open up the passing game now that Tyler Russell is set to take over full-time duties at quarterback.  “You have a quarterback who throws the ball well, and an experienced group of wide receivers,” the coach told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.  “So, as we view things, you’re looking more to throw the football than you have (in the past).

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MSU Won’t Have A 3rd QB In Music City Bowl

When Mississippi State lines up against Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl, Tyler Russell and Chris Relf had better stay healthy.  That’s because third-string quarterback Dylan Favre has left the team.

Favre — a redshirt freshman and the nephew of NFL legend Brett Favre — left the MSU squad on Saturday with the intention of transferring to Pearl River Community College for a year.  After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

For State, Favre played sparingly in 2010.  He completed 13 of his 26 pass attempts or 119 yards and a touchdown.  He rushed 12 times for 8 yards and 2 TDs.

Mullen says of the emergency quarterback situation, “We’ll figure it out”  And Relf and Russell are reportedly happy that they’ll be getting additional practice reps.

The only other quarterback on scholarship in Starkville is Dak Prescott, but Mullen isn’t going to pull his redshirt in this month’s bowl game.  If Russell and Relf get hurt against Wake Forest, it’s likely a player from another position will take over in some sort of variation of the Wildcat.

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SEC Headlines – 10/17/11 Part One

1.  The SEC has named its Players of the Week.

2.  Nick Saban was “real happy” with a 52-7 win over Ole Miss, but he still found things to complain about.

3.  Alabama’s game with Tennessee on Saturday figures to be “the final knife sharpening session” before the Tide’s showdown with LSU.

4.  The smart money is on Clint Moseley taking over the starting quarterback job at Auburn…

5.  But the Tigers aren’t ready to name their starter against LSU just yet.

6.  Arkansas’ #9 ranking is the highest debut for the Hogs since the BCS rankings began back in 1998.

7.  The Razorbacks are still fighting to reach their goals.

8.  LSU’s two-quarterback system is working just fine, thank you.

9.  The Tigers have been so dominant that at times it’s been a little boring.

10.  At 0-4 in the SEC, Dan Mullen and Mississippi State will be doing some soul-searching during their bye week.

11.  Tyler Russell’s performance was better than his numbers in his first start at quarterback.

12.  Ole Miss’ run defense allowed 9.3 yards per carry against Alabama.  That’s nearly a first down per rush.

13.  This week, they’ll face a Top 10 passing attack from Arkansas.

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Relf Says He’s Still The Starting QB At MSU

To the folks in the stands, it looked like Chris Relf might have played himself out of the starting quarterback job at Mississippi State.  And that Tyler Russell might have played himself into that role. 

But Dan Mullen isn’t saying one way or the other.

Relf has struggled more and more as the season has progressed.  On Saturday, with MSU trailing winless UAB 3-0 at the half, Relf was pulled after completing 6 of 10 passes for 46 yards.

Russell then entered the game, completed 11 of 13 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns, and led the Dogs to a 21-3 victory.

Mullen’s take?

“I thought Chris played fairly well.  The issue wasn’t just one person across the board.  It was dropped passes, some missed blocks.  It was some negative yardage plays in the first half that put us behind the chains.  Really, the turnaround was the overall execution of the offense in the second half compared to the first half.”

Relf, however, bemoaned the fact after the game that the coaches do not have faith in him to throw the ball down the field. 

Coach Mullen said I’m still going to be the starting quarterback.  It’s just a matter of me going out there and playing hard.  It’s just a matter of them believing in me to throw the ball in the game…

I just think we’ve got to throw the ball down the field.  I didn’t have that chance, and Tyler had that chance to throw the ball down the field in the second half.  He made the big plays, and I’m just happy with the win. … I feel like the coaches need to trust me more to throw the ball down the field.”

Mullen said that’s not the case and that the staff has “some trust in him to make decisions and to get the ball to the people that he needs to get the ball to.

For his part, Russell said he’ll continue to work hard will be ready to play against South Carolina this weekend whenever he’s called upon.

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Russell Doesn’t Want To Be Just “The Throwing QB” At MSU

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.

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SEC Headlines – 4/21/11 Part Three

1.  Ryan Mallett missed meetings with the Carolina Panthers this month due to an illness, not a late night of partying.

2.  This writer believes Mallett — who some have compared to Eminem and Vanilla Ice — “seems to be a target” rather than a prospect as the NFL draft nears.

3.  Some Hog fans have put up a billboard thanking Bobby Petrino “FOR BRINGING WINNING & EXCITEMENT BACK TO RAZORBACK FOOTBALL.”

4.  Ole Miss has hired a company to produce a feasibility study that will help the school plan for a new basketball arena.

5.  The Rebels’ running backs figure to get a lot of work this fall.

6.  Mississippi State has launched the largest athletic fundraising campaign in the school’s history.

7.  Dan Mullen told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger that he “could absolutely say that Tyler Russell could be our starter.”  (We believe that’s a motivational ploy for Russell and projected starter Chris Relf.)

8.  Here are some of the players Mullen said stood out this spring.

9.  And here’s one writer’s guess as to what MSU’s defensive depth chart looks like post-spring.

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Mullen & Petrino Talk, Houston Nutt is Desperate, & Another Look at the Bama Game

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

Nutt1On Tuesdays, I always provide notes from our very own Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs’ weekly adversary, but the truth is, Mullen and Petrino are not saying a whole lot. Here is a little bit of what I’ve gathered from the two coaches, thus far…

Dan Mullen on QB Ryan Mallet: “He can slide around in the pocket and extend plays. Very athletic that way. People get locked into thinking an athletic quarterback is one that can just run the ball and is very fast. An athletic quarterback can also be a guy that buys himself some extra time in the pocket. And he has the arm strength where he can throw a 50-yard pass and it takes about half a second for it to get there.”

Mullen on the Hog D: “They’re a very, very aggressive defense. They’re going to blitz you from a lot of different directions…They get you a little bit out of your game plan and they get into their comfort zone, which is really blitzing you from every direction on defense and coming after you. That’s one of the reasons we have to control the tempo of the game.”

·Bobby Petrino on MSU: “I know our players are excited about the week. We will be focused, and we have to do a good job in our preparation, in our practice, and get ready to go on the road and play another very good football team.”


Yesterday I raised the question of whether or not Tyler Russell’s passing game needed to be more a part of the Bulldog Offense, but it appears that Dan Mullen doesn’t think so. “The run game, that’s our base. The experience of our team is on the offensive line. To do that we need them to play well and they’ve played well running the football. That’s been the strength of our team this year and that needs to continue.” I completely agree coach, but a change of pace would be nice. I’m a major proponent of running the football and controlling the clock, but whenever we become predictable, and place ourselves in passing situations-be it predetermined or by circumstance, it would be nice to have the better arm in the game (at times). Mullen went on to say “When you look at our stats and the differences in our wins and losses – our turnovers – our ability to run the ball and control the tempo of the game, that’s been the difference. We have to be able to playour game at our tempo for us to be successful.” Les Koenning had this to say about Relf’s abilities, “We feel comfortable throwing the football – don’t misunderstand me now – but to win football games, our plan has been laid out by coach Mullen. Obviously as the game goes along – things change but controlling the football on the ground is our identity.”

_______After Further Review_______

And I’ll say this, there are some guys who missed tackles that I would rate as the best tacklers on our team. There were some things that were a little out of character for us.”

I watched the Bama replay, and here’s what I saw, followed by some comments from State players:

  • Johnthan Banks was much better at Safety than he is at Corner. Opposing Defenses are beginning to target him.
  • Tyler Russell did a great job of stepping up in the pocket, avoiding pressure, and throwing the football with the touch that each situation required. And, it was all against Bama’s first team D. If Bumphis doesn’t fall down, then he doesn’t even throw an INT, and we probably make the loss look even more respectful.
  • Vick Ballard was a·BEAST in Tuscaloosa. The kid has the same motor as Anthony Dixon, and runs hard ’til the whistle. We need to get him the ball through the air more as well.
  • LaDarius Perkins is potentially our most dangerous player on Offense. Ballard holds the edge at the moment, due to the fact that he is utilized more to his strengths then Perkins is. When he gets the ball on the edge, and he can cover 30 yds in a heart beat.
  • Emmanuel Gatling continues to disappoint me. He had a chance to stop all 3 of Bama’s long TDs, before they even got started. Like I’ve said before, always around the ball, but just does not make the play.
  • Nickoe Whitley’s statistics do not show how hard he plays. The kid flies to the ball, and is not afraid to make a hit.
  • Charles Mitchell had his first down-game of the 2010 season. He is one of my favorite players, but he looked like the Carl Torbush version of #4, not the Diaz version.
  • Corey Broomfield is very spotty at times. I liked him better before we let KJ Wright take over his role as a Rover type Back. Broomfield has the tendancy to lock up with a blocker, lose focus, and take himself out of plays. Violent hands, and attacking the ball will go a long way in improving his game. Sometimes when I watch him, I think of Randy Moss rumors, about taking plays off here and there.
  • JC Brignone on Physicality: The one thing we didn’t do (against Alabama) was be as physical as we normally are. I don’t like making excuses so I think it was just – we weren’t there, we weren’t us. I want to leave with this being the best offensive line in (MSU) history because I know we can be
  • Mann Diaz on Game Film: “Good for 29 plays; three in horror; and 29 more good. And I’ll say this, there are some guys who missed tackles that I would rate as the best tacklers on our team. There were some things that were a little out of character for us.”
  • On a sidenote, Mullen mentioned that Relf missed 2 easy TD throws, with passes that were batted down at the line.

Even though Mullen and Petrino aren’t talking, but Houston Nutt is. Nutt had his weekly press conference on Monday, just as other SEC coaches do, but none of the others sound quite as pitiful and desperate as him. Nutt made every excuse in the world concerning the Rebs’ disappointing season. And, did his best to·bring attention to the positive things he’s accomplished since he’s been in Oxford. Here are some clips, that even·an Ole Miss radio station was·grilling Nutt over:

  • “Lets go back and talk about the start of the year, this season has not gone like we had planned for it to.· It all started with that first game. With the amount of players we lost this year, we all knew that this would be a difficult year. But, what we didn’t plan on was three knee surgeries, four concussions and losing a leader like Kentrell Lockett. I just want to remind our fans that it had been·50 years since Ole Miss won back-to-back January 1 bowl games.· I’m excited that we have 12 freshmen playing. I am excited about the future.· I know in my heart, now more than ever, that we can get to Atlanta. I know we can, because I know that we can recruit here; we have proven that our last two seasons. What we didn’t plan on was our first game and a few others putting us in a tailspin. It’s my fault.· We were not as ready as we should have been, but I see a lot of hope. I am excited about these next two games. I remember the day I got here; I didn’t see any life or hope. I do not want that to come back on our guys now. We have two games left, and a lot of these guys have been doing great things for the past couple of years.”
  • “It is easy to dwell on the negative. It is easy to sit up on the 50-yard line and point out the bad and embarrassing. I was the first one to say Saturday was embarrassing. If you think that you are hurting, you should be in my shoes. I am sick to my stomach when I think about the Tennessee game, because we planned on winning that game.”
  • “I planned on having seven wins at this point in the season, six at the worst. The bottom line is that we are not there, but I am not going to allow my players to be gloom and doom. They need to remember that they have been a part of something great. It was not too long ago when everyone was patting them on the back for winning back-to-back Cotton Bowls. I just want to tell our fans that there are good things getting ready to happen.”
  • “I am not blaming anything on the previous staff; I appreciate all the players that I inherited. The players that Ed Orgeron recruited were very good players. They did a good job at getting Peria Jerry, Jerrell Powe. Michael Wallace, Shay Hodge and guys like them in here. But, the bottom line is that they didn’t know how to win and they were used to losing. I don’t ever want to go back to that point. Don’t ever get used to losing, don’t ever get to the point where it is a little bit easier to let go of the rope. You play as good as your senior class. When they play their best is when you win the most games. When you go back to the first year I was here, our senior class was phenomenal. Michael Oher was playing at his best. Peria Jerry was an awesome and violent player. Michael Wallace was playing at the top of his game. Your seniors are your leaders, the owners of the team and the motor that drives it. We have very few numbers of those guys now. We are missing our best one, Kentrell Lockett.”

Pretty sad, desperate, and embarrassing Houston. I guess you are·practicing the same speech that you will be giving a year from now, hoping to save your job. You called out what fans that are left, who were possibly considering attending the Egg Bowl. And for the record, you have had 3 years to recruit. We should be able to see some of what you can do as a recruiter, and as a coach who has had time to develop those players. All the repetitive excuses, is pretty much the equivalent of ice skating up hill. The fact is, you are out of Ed Orgeron’s talent, you can’t develop a QB to save your life, and your days are numbered in Mississippi.

How much do you think Tyler Russell should play for MSU? I’m thinkin 30% of the time…

How DESPERATE is Nutt?

-Egg Bowl’s kick off·has been set. 6pm, and we get Herm Edwards again! He’s not that great, but a good luck charm for us. Nothing like being called Memphis·State··Link

-Chris Low’s SEC Power Rankings. State is 6th. Link

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