Takeaways from Mississippi State football’s offense against South Carolina
Overall, this was a step in the right direction for the Bulldog offense.
Will Rogers looked dialed in for the first time since the offensive change. The approach offensively gave me some confidence in how Kevin Barbay will run the offense going forward. After a poor passing performance against LSU, I assumed they’d go run heavy in this game. But instead, they chose to air it out and attack an aggressive South Carolina defense and not force a run game that wasn’t materializing.
You saw a number of concepts that are right in Rogers comfort zone, but you also saw the deep shots that were promised with this offense, which Will consistently connected on. Do I expect to see that performance on a weekly basis? No, because, ultimately, this was a weak defense that gave State favorable looks to throw the football downfield.
But it was still something they can build off of. Now, the issues up front are worrisome. South Carolina is a team you should be able to run on far more effectively than you did, and pass protection continues to plague them. For as long as that remains problematic, State is going to have to shape its offense around force-feeding its best athletes and trusting them to make plays.
I know that sounds obvious, but I say that because right now, the majority of State’s success offensively has come from the likes of Woody Marks and Tulu Griffin running away from the defense. Marks has the ability to gain good yardage on the ground even when the blocking in front of him is less than ideal.
Tulu showed off his ability as a deep threat in this game, but he’s also shown on numerous occasions that he can take a short reception a really long way. When your OL can’t hold up long enough to allow for standard dropback concepts to come open, it helps if you can get the ball out quickly to a receiver, and he makes a few guys miss for a huge gain.
Kevin Barbay has said since day one that he wants to highlight his best skill players. There’s been mixed results with that so far, but against South Carolina, you saw that. That needs to continue going forward.