Russell on secret signals, open running lanes and shifty receivers

 

Apparently, Tyler Russell is learning a lot from Mississippi State’s defense.

The junior quarterback is figuring out his own strengths, and those of his offensive teammates, by going up against what he considers to be one of the best defenses in the SEC.

In particular, Russell says MSU’s receivers have learned how to get open by going against a secondary with the likes of Johnthan Banks, Corey Broomfield, Darius Slay and Nickoe Whitley.

“I feel like, going against our defense, you find different ways to get open,” Russell said. “And that’s gonna help us going into the season.”

When State lines up against LSU, Russell said, they’ll be prepared.

The connection between Russell and the pass-catchers is growing, as well. So much so that the signal-caller says there are times when their head coach doesn’t even know what they’re doing, let alone an opposing defense.

“There’s a lot of stuff that me and the receivers have, that ‘This is a signal for that,’ and Coach Mullen doesn’t even know about it,” Russell said. “He gives us the freedom to do that.”

Russell also expressed some confidence in MSU’s four-deep stable of running backs. As we’ve talked about some here on the blog, Russell said he expects to be throwing a lot of passes their way this season.

“I feel like all our running backs can catch out of the backfield,” Russell said. “I feel like our guys allow us to open up the offense and throw them the ball.”

He said the team is looking for someone who can run in the trenches as well as get past a linebacker 1-on-1, and he thinks his four guys can all do that.

Although, they won’t be the only ones running.

Russell was asked about Mullen’s comparison of him and his former Utah quarterback Alex Smith, and Russell mentioned something we’ve heard Mullen say, too. He may not appear to be the most athletic guy around, but he can get some yards if no comes after him, particularly in the option.

“It’s amazing,” Russell said. “Especially going against our defense, they don’t really think I’m gonna run the ball. We have some kind of read and everybody goes for the running back, then I get like 10 or 15 yards just easy with nobody touching me. I feel like if I can do that two or three times a game, that’s all I really gotta do.”

Mullen chatted with reporters before Russell and said the receivers as a group have impressed him this fall. Russell echoed his sentiments, and talked a bit about sophomore Jameon Lewis in particular.

We’ll have more on Lewis in the near future, but this thought from Russell on Lewis bears passing on.

“It can be four guys around him and he’ll make every last one of them miss,” Russell said.

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