July 20, 2009
"Tyson Lee is serviceable, but not outstanding. His stature (5-foot-10, 200 pounds) was a clear obstacle at times (last year)."
-- 2009 Athlon Sports preseason football edition.
Statements like those in Athlon Sports preseason college football edition haven''t all been kind to incumbent Mississippi State quarterback Tyson Lee.
Even with that, the senior from Columbus remains confident in his ability.
Lee became Mississippi State''s starting signal caller the fifth game of last season when Wesley Carroll began to struggle.
Although Lee''s play wasn''t always consistent, he finished the season with 1,519 yards passing, seven touchdowns and five interceptions.
Lee just goes about his business on a daily basis and insists he doesn''t dwell on any negative things that are said about his game.
Even after MSU signed highly-touted Meridian High School quarterback Tyler Russell, Lee just focuses on what he can control.
"It''s all about progressively getting better," Lee said. "Obviously papers, magazines and what people say, you let it run off your shoulder. You go out there and do what you can to the best of your ability and the other guys on the team will help you do that.
"As far as what I''m capable of, we have a good offense and a good thing going. It''s just a matter of executing and progressing each day in camp."
This season will be a fresh start for Lee in a new offense -- the spread -- with a new head coach in Dan Mullen.
So far Mullen, offensive coordinator Les Koenning and passing game coordinator Mark Hudspeth have placed their confidence in Lee and that''s all that matters to Lee.
"They are the guys calling the plays," Lee said. "If they have the confidence that I can do things, then they''ll call the plays and I''ll be fine. As long as coach Mullen, coach Koenning and the rest of the guys on the team and the coaches believe in me and have confidence in me, then we''re good to go."
Lee was effective running the spread in Mississippi State''s spring game (19 of 33, 251 yards, touchdown).
Mullen, who was known for developing quarterbacks like Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow during his time as Florida''s offensive coordinator, hasn''t had that luxury at Mississippi State with Lee and backup Chris Relf.
With all of his other responsibilities and placing emphasis on special teams, overseeing quarterbacks is why he hired Koenning and Hudspeth. He also depends on graduate assistant Angelo Mirando.
"(Koenning) knows my expectations so I know he is going to do a great job," Mullen said. "(Mirando) helped with the quarterbacks at Florida so you have guys who really know what I want from the quarterback position in getting (Lee and Relf) where they need to be."
There are only two weeks of summer conditioning remaining before the start of practice.
Lee and Relf have haven''t had a great deal of time yet getting acquainted with freshmen receivers since they reported for the summer earlier this month, but plans to step up the process in the next two weeks.
"Hopefully, these next two weeks going into fall camp, we''ll continue to get better with that," Lee said. "That way when fall camp comes we''ll execute and get the ball rolling quickly."
The Bulldogs begin practice on August 3 and the five practices that week will be open to the public like they were in the spring.
Once MSU starts two-a-day practices on August 8, drills will be closed.
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