Quarterbacks are not the same as running backs or receivers or offensive linemen. The position is inherently different from other positions.
We're all clear on that, right?
Apparently that is an antiquated viewpoint of QBs, because according to Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, it is not a unique position. I asked him on Monday whether he views it as such.
"You do, I don't," he said. "Vick Ballard gets the bulk of the reps at tailback, but LaDarius Perkins comes in and spells him. It's the same situation. We treat it the same and practice it the same, the kids treat it the same, within the program it's the same.
"You guys treat it differently, so I don't know how to answer your question."
The question was asked within the context of MSU's quarterback rotation of Tyler Russell and Chris Relf. Mullen determines the starter by how the QBs grade out during practice that week, and during games Mullen will rotate those guys in by possession or even by play.
It didn't go so well against Alabama - Relf started - especially on a critical drive in the second quarter. After Russell took the Bulldogs from their own 14-yard line to the Tide's 25, Relf came in, and the drive stalled. Missed field goal, zero points.
It's been a struggle for Relf all fall, and Saturday was no different. It might be time to admit that Relf can only be effective in specific situations, as with third-stringer Dylan Favre.
Speaking of which, Mullen asked me to give Tim Tebow and Chris Leak a call to ask about QB platoons (I've lost their numbers).
That was a completely different setup at Florida, when Mullen was offensive coordinator, than the current one at State. Leak was the unquestioned starter that one season, and Tebow came in only for plays designed specifically for him.
Mullen also referenced his Josh Harris-Andy Sahm system at Bowling Green and the Relf-Tyson Lee platoon of 2009. The only comment I can make on the first is I've heard of Harris, never heard of Sahm, who had 37 pass attempts his senior year to Harris' 353.
Relf and Lee didn't work at all.
True, the two-QB system worked beautifully against Kentucky two games ago. Then again, Alabama amp> Kentucky.
Mullen isn't against a one-QB approach, but as long as they're close, he's going to let more than one play. Logic tells me that this approach hinders Russell's development, because he's not getting as many reps in practice or games as most starters would.
Maybe that old logic doesn't apply any more.
Brad Locke (brad.locke@ journalinc.com) covers Mississippi State for the Daily Journal and blogs daily at NEMS360.com.