Could State Play Some Pro-Style Next Year?

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We all watched the SEC Championship Game last weekend, and oh, what a game! It was full of everything you love to see: twists, turns, lead changes, and most of all, physical, punishing football. It was an all out brawl, and what separates the SEC from the rest of college football.

Alabama and Georgia run a pro-style offense. They do this because they have the elite athletes to compete at a high level with it. Sometimes it’s straight forward, but they know if they execute it correctly, they are going to beat you. And when two powerhouses like Bama and UGA go against each other, you get the kind of smash-mouth game we saw on Saturday.

I don’t think State can compete in a pro-style offense. It’s one thing for Florida to change directions and go to it, but it’s another for Mississippi State. It’s a fact that I don’t see changing: MSU cannot get as many 4 & 5 star recruits as Florida, Georgia, LSU, and Alabama. It’s also tough to compete with Auburn, Tennessee and Texas A&M on that front as well. I think the spread is the best option for State.

However, I would like to see some pro-style integrated into the 2013 offense. We have a prototypical pro-style QB in Tyler Russell. He is a pocket-passer, plain and simple. We also have a pro-style running back in Nick Griffin. And one thing I think we’ll have next year that we didn’t have this year is a very good offensive line.

Gabe Jackson has filed paperwork for the NFL, but I’m 95% sure he’ll be back. Tobias Smith was honored on Senior Day, but he’s missed two seasons due to injury so I’m sure he’ll get a 6th year of eligibility if he wants one – and all indications are that he does want one more year. If those two make if back, State should have the entire line back. That’s Clausell, Jackson, Day, Smith and Siddoway. What’s more, the entire 2-deep returns as well: Muniz, Beckwith, Holley, Malone, and Robinson.

Returning your entire 2-deep on the offensive line is unheard of. That is arguably your most important unit, and State should have plenty of experience across the board. We saw what this year’s O-line for Bama did – they can make a team.

With the entire backfield back for MSU, and the O-line, plus a pocket passer like Russell, why not get into some pro sets? Put a fullback in there and let’s run out of the ‘I’ on 3rd and short. Run Griffin up the middle behind that line. Throw some screens to Perkins.

Joe Morrow didn’t produce much, if any at all this year. A lot of folks, including myself, expected more than the 5 catches for 53 yards he got. But he’s 6′-4″, 205, he has to be a bigger part of the offense. In addition to him, Tim Brewster has three 6′-3″ or better WR coming in as freshman. With Robert Johnson, Jameon Lewis, and Malcolm Johnson at TE, there should be enough talent at the receiver position to produce here. Hopefully we’ll have the height for some big plays and possession receptions on 3rd down.

I’m not suggesting in any way, shape or fashion, that MSU run a full-fledged pro-style offense in 2013. But I wouldn’t mind it being 20-25% of what we run. We have got to figure out a way to run the ball. Without Chris Relf’s rushing element, we basically just traded passing for rushing in 2012. We need to be able to convert 3rd & short on the ground without the completely predicable Dak Prescott run. The 140 YPG State averaged this year needs to get back up around 200 YPG next year, and if the passing numbers stay the same we could be looking at an excellent offense.

We’ll see what happens. I’m not going to hold my breath that Mullen would run any pro-style, but you never know. I just hope we play to our strengths and if we do that the Bulldogs have a great chance to be even more successful.