By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State focused its work Saturday on one end of the field.
The Bulldogs, in their 11th practice of the preseason, began installing their red zone offensive packages. What offensive coordinator Les Koenning was looking for above all else was some quick thinking, especially from the quarterbacks.
“Some of the biggest things about quarterback play, everybody is excited about a guy that can throw the football, everybody is excited about a guy that can run the football,” Koenning said. “That’s really big. But the major issues are the decision-making processes. How quick can you make those decisions and can you make them correctly?”
Fourth-year junior Tyler Russell, who’s taking over the starting job this year, had to work out some kinks Saturday.
“He still was a little bit slow at times,” Koenning said. “There were a couple of times I wish he had pulled the trigger earlier, but he’s getting familiar again to going at this speed.”
Russell’s backup, Dak Prescott, has even further to go in his red zone efficiency. But the redshirt freshman is expected to play this year, and as a dual-threat QB could be a valuable weapon inside the 20-yard line.
He just has to catch up mentally.
“As a quarterback that’s the hardest thing to replicate, get those game situations and see it, see it, see it,” Koenning said. “That’s what we’re doing right now. It was a really good scrimmage. You get out of the huddle and let the kids lead.”