Russell Gets First Team Snaps; More Football Notes

Dan Mullen cautioned against reading too much into it, but it’s notable that redshirt freshman Tyler Russell took first-team snaps at quarterback today for the first time this spring. This was the eighth spring practice for MSU.

The more experienced Chris Relf had been running with the first team.

“I wanted to mix that up,” Mullen said. “A lot of that is, they get kind of in a groove working with the group that they’re in. To give the opportunity to see how Tyler responds being in the first group, a little bit more pressure when you’re in that first group. Also to see Chris, his leadership skills and see him as an experienced guy to step in the huddle and have to work on his leadership with the second group.”

He added, “We’ll know who’s leading the race, I think all the fans will get to see a good mark at that on April 17, that’ll be a good competition day, April 17.” That’s the date of the Maroon-White spring game.

I’ll have more on the QB situation in tomorrow’s Daily Journal. Other notes, quotes and observations from this afternoon.

• On the injury front, junior RB Montrell Conner (knee) is expected to return to full practice action on Thursday. Junior DL James Carmon sat out with a “tweaked” knee. Mullen said Carmon was cleared to practice today, but the 6-foot-7, 345-pounder didn’t feel comfortable enough to do so.

• Speaking of Conner, if he can get healthy, he’ll be a major player in the battle for starting tailback. Mullen said there is no clear leader right now. Said Mullen, “Robert Elliott‘s steady doing some good things, Vick Ballard‘s doing some things. (LaDarius) Perkins has that big-play ability, and he gets in there maybe not as consistent as the other two guys, but when he gets in the open field and has a little crease, he can take it the distance.”

• Law enforcement officers were at practice today and huddled with the team afterward. I found it amusing that they received free swag in the form of T-shirts and hats. One guy was still sporting a maroon hat as he raced to a call.

• The offensive line had a bad day in Saturday’s scrimmage, and today must not have been much better. Following practice, they could been seen crawling and rolling across the track in what looked like some sort of sadistic punishment by line coach John Hevesy.