For years and years and years we've waited for a quarterback like Tyler Russell. One who would come in and be able to throw the ball with accuracy and efficiency. To throw touchdown passes and move the ball through the air. In his junior season, Tyler broke every major single-season passing record MSU has. He shattered the touchdown record throwing 24 (it was 16 previously). In his senior season he'll look to set career marks in the MSU record book.
But even though we've finally got that guy, one who many proclaim as the greatest Mississippi State QB ever, there is still the square peg in a round hole argument. Even though Russell is undoubtedly one of the 5 or 6 best quarterbacks in the SEC and a potential NFL Draft pick, some say Dak Prescott would be better for our offense based on our scheme.
I am of the mindset that Dan Mullen will mold an offense around Tyler's strengths and it will be successful. There were more variables than just his pro-style skill set that left the offense lacking a little bit last year. If the run blocking can improve - which I think it will - this offense has the potential to be the best passing and rushing offense Mullen has had at State.
There has been plenty of talk about putting Russell under center for some plays this year. I'm not sure how much of that will be incorporated into the offense, but it is something to look out for. With a veteran line, good tight ends and running backs, the Bulldogs could benefit from a more pro-style attack against some teams.
Going into a game like the opener vs. Oklahoma State in a new environment, having a 5th senior QB is comforting. His leadership in 2013 will go a long way towards the success of the season.
Dak Prescott is a willing and able backup, although he is coming off surgery for Turf Toe which forced him to miss spring practice. Hopefully he is fully recovered. He will likely figure into the offense again this year in red zone situations, and some 3rd and shorts. I'd look for him to take as much as 20% of the snaps this year.
3rd string is true freshman Damien Williams, who will hopefully redshirt. If we have to use him, it will be because of injury, and not a good situation for MSU.
The good news is this group is solid with Russell and Prescott. Tyler should be poised for a big year - his best in a maroon uniform.