A Closer Look: Russell in Total Command

This week’s game: South Alabama (1-2) at No. 23 MSU (3-0), Saturday, 6 p.m., PPV (Bart Gregory and Jackie Sherrill)


For all the ability he possesses, what has made Tyler Russell so effective and productive this season is how decisively he’s taken charge of the offense. That’s the story in today’s Journal.

Playing almost mistake-free football has been a big plus, certainly, but Russell has really distinguished himself by the way he’s taken total command of the offense. He’s demanding without being overbearing, knows how to communicate with his teammates no matter the circumstances, and does not get the least bit rattled.

Take the Troy game. MSU had seven dropped passes, which made Russell’s numbers look bad (11 of 26). He got a little upset but didn’t get flustered.

“You can’t get down,” Russell said. “Like I tell the guys, you never know what play is going to be the play that can win the game. We had a crucial drive at the end where we capitalized with a score and I really think that was the drive – if we didn’t capitalize they were going to go back down and score and we probably would have lost that game. So everybody for the most part stayed focus and we were able to win that game.”

On that final drive against Troy, MSU ate up the final four minutes off the clock with the run game. Russell had a pair of 3-yard runs, the first one converting a third-and-1 to effectively seal the victory. He took a knee two snaps later.

Russell’s teammates seem to have complete faith in him, faith that he’ll always know what to do, and that might be the most important aspect of the position he holds within this team.

“He’s going to make a lot of money one day,” receiver Joe Morrow said. “He knows the offense. You ask him, he knows what this receiver’s got, what this linemen is doing. He can read the defense, he’s very smart.”

I am the online content coordinator for DJournal.com. I also co-host The Memo and Prep Rally podcasts and host the Newsbreak program. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04).

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  • As someone who has been a fan a long time, it is great to see us with a head coach who knows how to develop a quarterback. I watched Chris Relf struggle last year after the Auburn game and questioned (to myself) why we didn’t put Tyler in more.

    Watching this year, and seeing his grasp of the offense I see why I am just a “Sunday Morning” coach. It is obvious that Tyler is completely at ease with the offense and doesn’t get rattled it one or two things don’t go as planned. He knows what is happening around him and takes responsibility for his actions. He is the teams leader, and not just one of the players.

    I do have to say two things: 1) To the offensive line: Protect our quarterback. He is what makes the machine run

    2) Tyler, your going to have to get rid of the ball quicker when we play Bama and LSU.

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