We’re now 25% of the way through the 2016 college football season. The Bulldogs are getting ready to head to Foxborough, MA to take on the UMass Minutemen.
But y’all had questions about this past weekend. So let’s get to those and see what is on everyone’s mind.
To the questions!
@JStrawnFWtCT true or false: Dan Mullen waited far too long to put Damian Williams in— FWtCT (@mstatesports) September 19, 2016
It’s hard to argue that it is true. Damian Williams came in and made an immediate impact. We don’t know he would have done the same thing had he come in earlier, but the results are hard to argue with.
@JStrawnFWtCT does Ashton Shumpert become the feature back after Saturday night? If he doesn't, should he be the feature back?— FWtCT (@mstatesports) September 19, 2016
It just depends on how stubborn Dan Mullen wants to be. There is no mistaking the fact Ashton Shumpert is running much more effectively right now than Brandon Holloway. Shumpert is averaging 5.4 yards per carry and Holloway is just getting 3.6. Shumpert didn’t live up to expectations last season. He’s made improvements and deserves a chance.
@JStrawnFWtCT where is Malik Dear and should we call a swat team to rescue him from whatever basement Mullen has him held captive in?— Ethan Lee (@leeethanj) September 19, 2016
This is the mystery we are all trying to figure out. Malik Dear was suspended for the first game, and he didn’t play in the second. This led many to speculate the suspension was actually two games though it wasn’t announced. He played a few snaps against LSU, but never touched the ball. I don’t know what happened to Dear, but the Bulldogs need him. He made positive things happen every time he touched the ball in 2016.
I don’t know how you can say it is anyone besides Ashton Shumpert. There’s no guarantee he would be able to continue the productivity he has shown so far in 2016 if given more opportunities, but he has done everything asked of him. Give him a chance and lets see what he can do.
I personally have never seen any real cowbells bigger than what you see people carrying into games. There have been cowbell posters and such that were much bigger than the standard sized ones you are accustomed to seeing, but those were just signs.
@JStrawnFWtCT part two true or false: Dan Mullen's quarterback indecisiveness has cost us and is the reason we have two losses— FWtCT (@mstatesports) September 19, 2016
The weird thing is, he hasn’t been indecisive. He made a decision relatively early on in the game against South Alabama to go with Williams and stick with him. Against LSU, it was more of a fluke on why we even put Williams on the field.
If Fitzgerald’s helmet doesn’t come off, Williams likely never gets in the game. But because he played so well, Mullen had to leave him out there. If anything, Mullen hasn’t been indecisive enough for us to win games. So I’m going to say false on this one.
Why can't Fred Ross play both ways https://t.co/ZkAy9vHO3J— mr_coach_jimmy (@sportsgoodsguy) September 19, 2016
This question struck me as rather odd. The reason he can’t is because you simply don’t want that to happen these days if you want your player to live.
There have been a few players within the last 30 years or so who played both ways. Champ Bailey and Charles Woodson are the first to come to mind. But even they focused mainly on being a cornerback. It’s just not a good idea, so lets worry about finding the right guys to play defense instead of getting players to go both ways.
I’m going to assume the answer is yes. I would imagine if BYU plans to exercise that clause in the contract should they get an invite to the Big 12, they have likely already informed Scott Stricklin they will do so.
The question is would the Bulldogs be granted a waiver to not have a Power 5 opponent on the schedule in 2017 from the SEC. BYU and Notre Dame were named as exceptions to that rule, so this is why BYU was added in the first place. I would imagine there isn’t a Power 5 school in the country that would have an available slot to play the Bulldogs. To me, that’s the more interesting angle should BYU get an invite to the Big 12 and decide to exercise the opt out clause in the contract.
@mstatesports who's our QB and will he play like Brady this wknd since we're wearing pats inspired uni's?— CHIEF DRAGON CANOE (@itftpLadd) September 19, 2016
I think the QB will be Nick Fitzgerald. Damian Williams came in and provided a nice spark, but the best option to win games is to give the ball to Fitzgerald. But the only one I can guarantee will play like Brady is the one sitting on the bench. That’s because Tom Brady is currently serving a four game suspension for “Deflategate”. Seriously, can we stop adding “gate” to the end of every controversy out there?
@mstatesports Will we play the two headed quarterback all season? If we do will this stunt the growth of Fitzgerald?— The Tupelo Flash (@Cprovine3) September 19, 2016
I don’t think so, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Dan Mullen puts Williams in for times when the offesnce needs a “spark”. Fitzgerald has talent, but he is still very raw, and he could use a little extra polish.
AS for the second question, it might. The one thing I have gathered in the short time we have seen Fitzgerald is he doesn’t seem to be the most mentally strong player to play quarterback. He never once looked happy on the sideline once Williams came in the game. It’s almost like he doesn’t like the idea of possibly being replaced. I probably wouldn’t either, but he has to remember this is a game in the most competitive conference in the country. If you can’t get the job done, it will be turned over to someone else.
Not as much as we had. Holloway only had 5 carries in the loss to LSU, and I know at least a few were to the outside. I do recall at least one or two, but that’s a lot better than the 10 or so we saw in the previous two games this season.
I know people like to criticize Mullen for his recruiting, but he has done better than almost any coach that has come before him at Mississippi State. The problem is the rest of the SEC has picked up their game considerably.
There’s only three misses that concern me too much. The first two are not getting A.J. Brown and Scott Lashley. Brown doesn’t concern me as much simply because I think Mullen and Brown would have clashed too much. But the kid is as talented as they come and it sure would have been nice to have him on the team.
The second and more important miss was Scott Lashley. The Bulldogs need elite level talent on the offensive line, and they missed big time on a kid who had made it pretty clear he would have loved to come to Mississippi State if they had just put forth some effort to actually recruit him.
But if you really want to criticize Mullen for his recruiting, criticize him for even trying to get Cord Sandberg in the 2013 class. Mullen’s offense needs a quarterback that can play at high levels. Sandberg could have done that, but almost everyone knew he was going to be a top round draft pick in the MLB Draft and he had planned to sign with whatever team drafted him.
Mullen then had to throw a hail mary to get Damian Williams on the team. So now, we have a very limited redshirt junior and a talented but very raw developmental project redshirt sophomore as our options at quarterback. We’re paying the price for it in 2016.
If you ever have a question you want answered here on the blog, hit me up on Twitter. My handle is @JStrawnFWtCT.