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Six games in, we still cannot properly evaluate Nick Fitzgerald

Receiver play makes it tough to truly tell if Nick Fitzgerald has progressed as a passer.

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

When the 2017 Mississippi St. Bulldogs football season began, most of us knew that Nick Fitzgerald and his progress would play a big part in how well the Bulldogs would do this Fall. After six games, the jury is still out on how much progression he has actually made.

The numbers are pretty pedestrian for Nick Fitzgerald this season. He has completed 54.9% of 162 pass attempts for 1,024 yards, which is only 170.7 yards per game. He’s thrown 10 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

But those numbers only tell a part of the story for Fitzgerald. His receivers have done absolutely nothing to help him out so far in 2017. Three of his receptions have been the direct result of Nick Fitzgerald having passes tipped by his receivers. The number of drops the receivers have had this season would be comical if it wasn’t for the fact that they have been so detrimental to the offense.

The receiving numbers look really bad. Donald Gray leads all receivers with 17 catches, but is only averaging 9.1 yards per catch and 25.8 yards per game. Ketih Mixon has played well since the LSU game, but he plays the slot and not on the outside. State hasn’t been able to find any consistency out wide to help Fitzgerald.

There was a lot of talk in the bye week about Jamal Couch and Reggie Todd being incorporated into the offense more. Couch was the only player who made any catches and he only had two.

The encouraging part is we saw what Couch can do in one of those plays. Fitzgerald hit Jamal Couch perfectly in stride in an over the shoulder 32 yard touchdown pass. It was what Couch is capable of if he can show that consistently. What the Bulldogs need to see from him is the ability to go in traffic and make catches when defenders are draped all over him.

Nick Fitzgerald is the cog that makes the offense run. The Bulldogs need him to be successful if they want to continue to win games in 2017, but he’s going to need some help along the way.