September 1, 2009 11:53:00 AM
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen isn''t releasing details on two key issues about his team as he enters his first game week.
Mullen has chosen not to discuss what, if any, suspension he plans for senior running back Anthony Dixon.
The first-year coach also has been silent about who will start at quarterback for MSU when it takes on Jackson State at 2:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU).
Mullen said senior Tyson Lee, of Columbus, and sophomore Chris Relf both do enough things well as quarterbacks to be considered for significant playing time.
Mullen plans to play both against Jackson State and sees both playing in the first half, but won''t say who will take the first snap.
"Everyone would like to know who the starter is," Mullen said Monday at his weekly press conference. "I consider the starter whoever plays the most plays and does the best job."
Mullen said the situation and what plays are called will determine the quarterback.
Lee said the evaluation process will continue until a decision is made.
"Each day the coaches evaluate the film and sees how practice goes," Lee said. "Based on how the quarterbacks execute, he''ll determine who is the best for that day."
Latest on Dixon
The coaches also will determine the status of Dixon for Saturday''s game later in the week.
Dixon was arrested in July arrest for driving under the influence. Mullen didn''t confirm Monday that Dixon would be held out of the season opener.
Mullen has required Dixon to do extra work in practice and additional conditioning. He said Dixon "is working hard to fulfill his requirement for the things proposed to get back into good standing."
Whether Dixon misses all or parts of the game, Mullen doesn''t think it will hurt the depth of the running game with seniors Christian Ducre'' and Arnil Stallworth.
"The running back position as a whole is one we feel really good about," Mullen said. "Anytime you come into a season with three seniors that can rotate at the tailback position, all with playing experience, you are very excited. I think that has to be the position with the most depth on our team, as well as the most experience."
The only player Mullen doesn''t expect to be ready to play against Jackson State is redshirt freshman right guard Tobias Smith, of Columbus.
Smith is recovering from torn ligaments in his ankle and was still wearing a boot Monday, but Mullen hopes to have him back in time to open the Southeastern Conference schedule against Auburn next week.
Junior center J.C. Brignone (ankle) and freshman wide receiver Chad Bumphis (foot) have returned to practice and are expected to be ready for Saturday.