It was not a pretty sight. Near the end of today's Mississippi State practice session – in full pads, full contact – second-string quarterback Chris Relf threw a pair of interceptions and had several other off-target throws. Starter Tyson Lee looked better, but neither QB has blown away coach Dan Mullen.
The key: Repetition.
"Accuracy was way off," Mullen said. "Throwing a football’s a lot like swinging a golf club – you’ve just got to do it over and over, 10,000 times. You keep doing it, all of a sudden you start hitting balls straight. When you keep throwing the ball, you’re going to start throwing it straight, so we’ve just got to keep throwing a lot more."
Mullen's diagnosis of the problem is that the quarterbacks' offseason regimen was lacking. Lee said he and Relf threw five times a week.
"Obviously, they didn’t throw that much, because they’re not very accurate," Mullen said. "Whatever they thought they were doing is probably 100 times less than what they need to be doing, if you want to be a great quarterback."
Lee thinks it's just a timing problem. "Before we got out here, we’re still installing plays, so the routes were different," he said. "A slant then might be different from a slant we’re running now."
It probably didn't help that Lee and Relf didn't have many receivers to work with. With Leon Berry, Terrance Davis and Delmon Robinson all out or limited with minor injuries, Mullen was just trying to get warm bodies out there. He had to move quarterback Cameron Lawrence, an early enrollee out of high school, to receiver.
A couple more notes from today:
• Tailback Christian Ducre' suffered a shoulder sprain during a two-minute drill near the end of practice.
• Speaking of running backs, Mullen likes what he sees out of seniors Ducre', Anthony Dixon and Arnil Stallworth. "If they can continue to buy in that way, play unselfishly, those are going to be three guys that we feature in the offense."
MSU returns to the practice field Thursday at 3:30 p.m.