In a usual press conference involving Dan Mullen, there isn’t always a lot to take away from it. He spends a lot of time just giving coach speak, and he says a lot without revealing much.
But on Wednesday, he gave some insight into some possible lineup changes the Mississippi State football team might implement in their next game against BYU. He mentioned that they were working toward making Jamal Couch and Reggie Todd more integral parts of the offense.
As of right now, Jamal Couch and Reggie Todd don’t have numbers that jump out at you. Jamal Couch has 3 receptions for 71 yards and Reggie Todd has 5 catches for 36 yards. What they lack in production so far, they make up for in size which the Bulldogs desperately need.
Besides Couch and Todd, every Mississippi State receiver is listed as six feet tall or less with the lone exception of Jesse Jackson who is listed at 6’2”. But Jackson hasn’t found a way to be productive in Mullen’s offense. Small receivers can play great, but they have a difficult time making receptions in traffic.
The Bulldogs have felt the absence of De’Runnya Wilson since he left early in a failed attempt to make it into the NFL. Wilson might not have been very fast, but he used his size and physicality to wrestle balls away from defenders. The only receivers that can provide similar skills are Todd and Couch.
It should be noted that Jordan Thomas could also fall in this category, but he is listed as a tight end. While the Bulldogs have been lining Thomas out wide, if they can’t find room to run, Thomas will have to come back to the offensive linemen and be a more traditional tight end.
So that leaves Jamal Couch and Reggie Todd as the only other consistent options to provide Nick Fitzgerald a big, downfield receiving target. Results have been mixed so far, but the Bulldogs need at least one of them to step up and preferably both.
The bye week is a perfect time to try and incorporate the two young receivers and attempt to hurry along their progress. If the coaching staff can get these two players where they need to be, it would give the Bulldogs the dynamic, balanced offense they had in 2014. If they can’t, the offense stays one dimensional and predictable. It could be the difference in a season that most won’t remember and a season that sees the Bulldogs take a step toward being great in the near future.