Good morning, Bulldog fans. Lots of love for Chris Relf in today's links.
"I don't know if it registers with him but I'm concentrating on him improving," MSU coach Dan Mullen said. "One of the things Chris understands is how he got to where he is now and he took those steps to continually improve. He bought into the program and what we asked him to do. He's seen incredible improvement over the last two years."
In his first full season as the starter, Relf was the most productive player at State in 25 years, coming close to the 2,886 total yards Don Smith piled up in 1985 (Relf totaled 2,502 yards).
With LSU's Jordan Jefferson being suspended for his team's opener, Relf will be the only returning starter for an SEC Western Division team on the field this weekend. He's already received a good bit of offseason hype, and now's time to make good on it.
"It's the same thing I tell Chris: What you did last year is what you did last year," Koenning said. "This year is what they'll evaluate you on this year."
If for some reason Relf goes down, the Bulldogs have a legitimate backup option since...forever.
Backup quarterback Tyler Russell might not be set to break the school record he tied last season against Memphis, but he sure is practicing like it.
"He's had a great week of practice," MSU coach Dan Mullen said. "He looked like he was ready to start yesterday."
There has been some question with the kicking game coming into this season as there will be a new punter to replace Heath Hutchins. Baker Swedenburg has been selected to fill that role for State and so far Mullen likes what he sees.
"He has done a nice job," said Mullen. "He's been very consistent which is a key component in the punting game." Handling the rest of the kicking duties will be Derek DePasquale, who has game experience. Mullen described DePasquale as "shaky" during Monday's press conference, but he still has confidence in the kicker.
One of the biggest question marks concerning the defense was who would emerge as the leader of the linebackers with three senior starters departing. The answer appears to be former walk-on Brandon Wilson, who is atop the depth chart at mike.
"He's done a great job," Mullen said. "Brandon hasn't changed. You know what you're getting with Brandon from day one since we've been here. He's a guy that works hard and gives you everything he has out there on the field. He has a nose for the football and a natural football player out there on the field and loves the game. That kind of demeanor is what you want from your middle linebacker. He's a guy who just absolutely loves being out there in the game."
Gene's Page has some renderings of the $80 million Davis Wade Stadium expansion. At first glance, it looks very prison-ish, complete with a guard tower. We must protect this house?