With the start of the 2013 football season looming, Bulldog Blitz is taking an in-depth look at this year's Maroon and White squad position-by-position.
Today, we start with the quarterback position.
This season one can argue that this is the most stacked the Bulldogs have been at the quarterback spot, yet many fans still question the ability of Tyler Russell in this offense. All Russell did in 2012 was set 11 single-season school records and lead the Bulldogs to their third-consecutive bowl game, a feat that has only been reached once before.
Russell broke the following records: attempts, completions, completion percentage, yards, touchdowns, 200-yard passing games, attempts/interception ratio, total offense, touchdowns responsible for, passing efficiency and tied for consecutive attempts without an interception.
The fifth-year senior was 231 for 394 throwing for 2,897 yards with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and is on the cusp of being the most prolific quarterbacks to ever wear the MSU uniform. He is just one passing touchdown away from the school records and is top-10 in nearly every category. The truth is, MSU has never had a quarterback of his ability and, as long as Dan Mullen is at the helm, probably will not have another.
Why, you ask? Russell has shown an incredible amount of gumption in the pocket. With the exception of a rough day in the Gator Bowl, he has been cool as a cucumber. Almost too cool as he's taken hits others could not and has not been the greatest fit for Mullen's spread option style.
Still, Mullen understands the immense talent he has in Russell and has talked of putting the senior under center more and even creating more of a pro-style attack just for him. With over 4,500 yards through the air in only a year and a half as a starter, his talent is far too good to let go in his final season.
Right behind Russell, however, is a player that Mullen looks at as his ideal signal caller for this offense. With the style of Tim Tebow, Dak Prescott brings more of a dual-threat to the offense that can't be replicated by anyone else on the roster. While Russell has the precision and power in the arm that exceeds his fellow signal caller.
Prescott adds power on the ground and still is a threat to hit the big play through the air.
In year one, the redshirt freshman threw for 194 yards and four touchdowns on 18 completions while also rushing for 118 yards on short-yardage situations and four more touchdowns. Much like Tebow, he was brought along slowly and was extremely effective. Look for his role to increase again this year before he is given the reigns next season.
An injury forced Prescott to miss the spring and put a small cog in his development, but the sophomore is expected to be full go by August 31 which will be good news for Bulldog faithful.
Late in the recruiting season last year, MSU missed out on a couple of their backup plans at quarterback. Knowing that highly touted Cord Sandberg was probably going to go the pro baseball route, panic set in among State fans. With a month left to go, Mullen reeled in an under-the-radar QB that fit his system out of the Louisiana prep ranks where he got Prescott just two years prior.
Damian Williams comes into town at 6-1 and 215 pounds out of Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, La. A quarterback that fits the Mullen mold, Williams brings the dual-threat ability with a strong arm and tremendous running ability to boot. Once a Southern Miss. commit, Williams was a top-20 player in Louisiana by many publications and racked up over 3,500 all-purpose yards in his career. He was the MVP of the State Championship game as well. Williams will be a player brought slowly into the system and developed into a solid backup.
It will be incredibly interesting to see the direction that the quarterback position goes this season and for years to come, but it would seem that Bulldog fans should feel more at ease than they do with another year under each quarterback's belt and one of the greatest to wear the uniform.
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