Coach Mullen- It's Time To Stop "Half-Assing" The Offense


Everybody knows nothing is done well when you “half-ass” it. You can’t just put a little effort into something and expect great results. You have to commit to a project, a job, a family, a relationship, and yes folks- you have to commit to a QB or to an Offense.

For the last four years, all I’ve been hearing is about how much better our offense will be once we put Tyler Russell at QB so we can throw the football. Tyler was very highly touted coming out of high school, and is also a fan favorite because he is from Mississippi. He has taken longer to break the line-up than many hoped, but finally got his chance in 2012. Tyler responded by setting many school passing records in a pass heavy offense by Mississippi State standards. But was this season the results State fans were hoping for? I don’t think so. While State records fell, 31 other D-1 QB’s threw as many or more TD’s as Russell this season. And that’s not the whole story.

There were still plenty of struggles offensively, even with some of the records that were set. We were:

77th in the nation in Total Offense

86th in the nation in 3rd down conversions

87th in the country in Red Zone offense

72nd in first downs gained.

Those rankings are hardly worthy of a record setting QB wouldn’t you say? To top it off, in our 4 losses, we only managed to score 61 points- and 21 of those were put on the board by back-up Dak Prescott. Considering our schedule this season and performance in big games, one would be hard-pressed to call our offense a “success” this season.

So what is the problem? Is it Russell? Is it Dan Mullen’s system? Is it that Dak Prescott needs to play instead? In my opinion it’s simple- Dan Mullen and his system are to blame for our offensive problems. We run a Spread offense. There are two reasons to run a Spread offense- 1) you have a mobile QB and you want to gain an advantage in the box with numbers. Having a mobile QB makes the defense have to account for him as well on all running plays, and gives the offense a numbers advantage. If the defense brings an extra defender in the box to help out- Spread teams will then throw the football against man coverage by the defense, which makes it easier to complete passe theoretically. 2) A passing Spread team spreads the defense out to take advantage of one-on-one match-ups that favor the offense. Spread passing teams usually have really fast slot WR’s and tall, lanky outside guys that can jump. They take advantage with their speed guys vs Safeties and LB’s, and then use their height at WR against the CB’s. In 2012- State’s offense did neither. We didn’t have the WR’s to commit to a Passing Spread offense in 2012, and we didn’t have the mobile QB taking the vast majority of the snaps to take advantage of the numbers in the box. So we “half-assed” it. We didn’t commit to either side.

Coach Mullen didn’t commit fully to his offense because we didn’t have a mobile QB. Then he turned around and refused to change the offense enough to help his QB be successful consistently. Therefore, he also didn’t commit to Tyler Russell. If you look at other teams around the SEC, all the teams without a mobile QB get in the I-formation to help their running game get some push upfront. We are the only team that refused to do so. That led to an inconsistent running game and caused us to finish 11th in the SEC in 3rd down conversions. The better your 3rd down conversion rate, the better your offense, the longer you posess the ball, the more your defense stays off the field, etc. It’s critical to your offense and it is something that must get better.

Moving forward, Dan Mullen needs to make a decision. What is more important- his offensive system or changing the offense enough to make Tyler Russell successful. For Tyler to maximize his potential, he needs a running game with some push in it upfront. He needs some effective play-action to hold the LB’ers so our WR’s can find some seams. He is wasting his time with read-option and spread option plays. If we aren’t going to commit to Russell, then let’s commit to the Spread fully again and play Dak Prescott. It can’t be both ways and be as good as it needs to be Coach Mullen. Make a commitment. Stop with the half-assed offensive system.