By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – Quarterbacks at Mississippi State wear a green jersey at practice to distinguish themselves as off-limits to hits from their defensive counterparts.
With that in mind, Tyler Russell returned to practice Monday afternoon but has not been cleared for contact yet by the team trainers. The senior signal caller has been out of action since suffering a second-half concussion in Week 1 against Oklahoma State.
“We’ll kind of build him back into it,” Mullen said.
Russell, along with senior running back LaDarius Perkins, junior cornerback Jamerson Love and senior safety Nickoe Whitley did not dress during Saturday’s 51-7 win over Alcorn State but are expected back for the Bulldogs’ SEC opener against Auburn this week.
“We should have everybody back healthy with the exception of the guys who are out for the year,” Mullen said. “The only guy that we have that is still questionable for this week would be (linebacker Ferlando) Bohanna. I talked with our trainers and they expect everybody else to be ready to go.”
In the event that Russell does not pass his concussion testing, sophomore Dak Prescott will get the nod behind center. In his first career start last Saturday, Prescott completed 12-of-19 passes for 174 yards, two touchdowns and an 11-yard rushing score during the first half.
“There were things we can work on and I can get better at,” Prescott said. “We did pretty good as a team. The offensive line protected and the receivers caught balls and made plays. It was a good first win.”
Of the 70 players that took the field for MSU against Alcorn State on Saturday, 24 were freshmen including nine true freshmen.
The Bulldogs may not be done either.
During his Monday press conference, Mullen mentioned true freshman tight end Artimas Samuel is pushing for playing time but several factors are considered before a redshirt is pulled.
“When they are ready to play and there is a need, we’re going to make sure we try to go play them at that point,” Mullen said. “We’re not going to play somebody just for the sake of playing them or because they are ready. I want to make sure they get quality reps throughout the year.”
State was led by a true freshman in both rushing and receiving this past week. Ashton Shumpert carried 22 times for 98 yards and two TDs while Fred Ross caught three passes for 48 yards.