August 25, 2011 11:09:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Tyler Russell still remembers what it felt like to walk off the field against the University of Memphis.
The third-year sophomore would like to repeat that sense of accomplishment at 7 p.m. Sept. 1 against Memphis one year later.
"You can''t think about what you did last year or even the last game," Russell said. "What worked for me was blocking out all the things that weren''t important and just doing what I was coached."
Russell went 13 of 16 for 256 yards after relieving starting quarterback Chris Relf. While the Mississippi State football team''s quarterback situation is more stable than in 2010, Russell detailed the pregame routine he will follow when MSU takes the field against Memphis in eight days.
"I''ll have the head set on, and what people don''t know is I''m able to see things in the defense Chris can''t see while his mind is moving quicker and with so much adrenaline," Russell said. "When he comes off the field I''m able to tell him what a cornerback is doing on every play or something crucial he can file away on the next series."
Russell had 635 passing yards in nine games last season. He completed 60 percent of his passes and had five touchdowns in his first season of
action at MSU. Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen said that experience allows him to feel more comfortable about putting the former Parade All-American in a Southeastern Conference game if anything happens to Relf.
"The fact that he''s been in the game before and there''s not that ''Whoa, why did that happen'' reaction going on with him makes me feel better about putting him in a game," Mullen said. "Last year, we didn''t know what we had in Tyler Russell, and it''s the same case with Dylan (Favre) this year."
Russell said the fans and media have made a bigger deal out of the
quarterback race this season than necessary. The Meridian native expects to be the backup, and hopes to get significant time early in the season.
"My job is to push Chris, and Dylan''s job is to push me," Russell said.
"I''ve said it before, the best player will play and it''s about winning games."
Coming out of high school as the No. 12 ranked pro-style quarterback in the country, Russell felt comfortable in the pocket but would rely on his right arm too much instead of throwing with his whole body.
"He''s got a whole lot more confidence of being able to stay in the pocket," MSU senior right tackle Addison Lawrence said. "I don''t know
if that''s more confidence in us at the line or another year in the system, but he''s staying in the pocket and making throws that are unbelievable."
Russell tried in the offseason to work his ability to run with the football in Mullen''s spread-option offense. Russell had 62 rushing yards last season, and he knows he must show versatility with the pass and the run game to succeed this season and in the future.
"I got to show other teams I can run the ball so they don''t push so much pressure on me as far as blitzing," Russell said. "I''m telling coaches I can run it and I can get what I need to get and not shy away from it."
Cowbells banned at season opener at Memphis
University of Memphis officials confirmed Wednesday that MSU fans will be forced to leave their cowbells at home. Citing the
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium''s ban on artificial noisemakers, a
Tigers football spokesperson said in an email response to The
Dispatch said that security will check bags before fans enter
the stadium for the 7 p.m. game Sept. 1.
According to the agreement reached in back-to-back SEC spring meetings, MSU fans are allowed to use the cowbells during stoppages of play (timeouts, changes of possession, or a touchdown) but not during league road games.
In 2007, MSU fans were encouraged to bring their cowbells to the team''s game against the University of Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl. MSU won 10-7.
MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin confirmed his department had paid the $30,000 fine for violating the policy in the first two SEC home games of last season (vs. Auburn and Georgia). He recently has used Twitter and his weekly column on the school''s athletic website to encourage fans to cooperate with the rule on the road via MSU''s "Respect The Bell" campaign.
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