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Gaining confidence up front

July 15, 2012

Dillion Day, left, and Gabe Jackson, right, lead an unexperienced offensive line, but they are making strides to get better. (Photo by Michael Wardlaw, SDN)

Exiting spring practice the Mississippi State Bulldogs felt pretty good about the work they had done and the questions they had answered. 

The newcomers were working in nicely and the rising seniors were leading, teaching, and coaching the youngsters. 

And while State made progress on a multitude of fronts, the offensive line remained in doubt. 

Injuries, youth and inexperience jumps off the page when you look at the roster of offensive linemen. And given the lack of experienced depth under center, State can ill-afford mistakes in the offensive line. 

Despite the concerns, MSU starting quarterback, Tyler Russell, isn’t worried about the guys up front. 

“I think they are getting better every day,” said Russell. “They are young but they still have some older guys that have done it. I’m really not worried about it too much. Once we get into camp we can see.”

Russell actually feels the mistakes displayed by the offensive line have made him a better quarterback. 

“On a blitz some of the young guys might not have known what was going on and they didn’t make it,” he said. “Well it was my job to step in and point that out, so really it is helping me out to become a better leader. It is making the offensive line better and making me better at the same time.”

Becoming a better leader has without question been a focus for Russell as he points out mistakes and areas of improvement, but it doesn’t stop there. The junior QB is determined to keep his linemen focused on the task at hand. 

“I’m happy for him, I just think he needs to focus on the things that are going to make this football team better and not worry about anything link that,” said Russell of center Dillion Day being named to the Remington watch list. “If we are all successful the accolades for individual efforts will show up in a lot of our players.”

Time will tell if Russell’s confidence in the offensive line is justified, he’ll need it to be in order to be able to lead the offense to its full potential. 

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