Relf said in the preseason that the loss to Auburn motivated him in the summer training program and the throwing schedule he has had with his receivers.
"A year ago, we were going to try to keep things as simple for him to build his confidence," MSU coach Dan Mullen said. "Right now I'm comfortable with him doing everything. Now there's a lot more freedom to make a lot more in-game adjustments."
Mullen said Sunday he considered the matter closed last December when Newton signed with the Tigers.
"What was that 20 months ago?" Mullen asked. "I haven't thought about him since. I did when we played last year because he's such a good player."
Mullen said Sunday he and his staff don't have a relationship with Chizik on any level. The Bulldogs third-year head coach joked the first time they met was the SEC head coaches' meeting three years ago when they got a job in the league.
"I've moved on," Chizik said Sunday. "I'm worried about Mississippi State."
It shouldn't be difficult for the Mississippi State Bulldogs to figure out the right plays to call against Auburn on Saturday. All someone has to do is look at the Southeastern Conference team statistics and realize where the defending national champion Tigers are most vulnerable.
Auburn is at the bottom of the league in rush defense, giving up 227 yards to Utah State in its first game.
One week, and win, into the season the Bulldogs have gained ground in the national rankings. They jumped from #20 to #16 in the writers poll, which is only a slot behind their final ranking of 2010.
State had not ended a season with a ranking since the 1999 Peach Bowl. Mullen’s response to the promotion? About as expected.
"Polls are neat," he said, but "The only poll I take any notice of is the one after mid-January. The rest of it is guesswork." Which got the coach into a mischievous mood. "What if we’re better than 16th, if we’re the best team in the country? We might be #1, we don’t know that yet. Maybe we’re terrible and 80th! We’ll see how the season plays out."
In Brandon Marcello's notes column, Mullen dances around the availability of Fletcher Cox.
Five MSU players suspended for the season-opening 59-14 victory over Memphis have not missed practice, but their status for the SEC opener Saturday is still up in the air. The biggest returning star would be the lone starter, DT Fletcher Cox.
"It's a big advantage having a guy like Fletcher on the field," MSU coach Dan Mullen said Tuesday. "I think you saw how young we were last week without him. If we get him back this week, it's huge to have that."
The result was a dominant 59-14 win that begs this question: Is Mississippi State really this good? Or was Memphis just that bad? Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen isn't sure, but he's pleased the Bulldogs haven't shown any signs of complacency so far.
"You look on offense and we're not patting ourselves on the back for setting school records," Mullen said. "In their mind, it's how can we be better? How can we execute at a higher level? How can we be cleaner and more efficient?"