Mississippi State’s leader on offense is ready to hit the field.
Not literally, of course, as junior quarterback Tyler Russell has only been sacked twice all season and is hoping to avoid many more, but the last two games were not incredibly kind to MSU’s passing game.
Russell is hoping to get his receivers going on Saturday after he was off against South Alabama and they were off against Troy.
“I wanted to be back out there real soon,” Russell said. “I didn’t even wanna have a bye week.”
While he may have been anxious to get back into action, the off week may have come at a good time for Russell and the offense, as they try to get their chemistry back and sync things up.
“We’re trying to get back to where we were at against Auburn,” Russell said.
In the first SEC game since that victory in week two, it’s a good and, hopefully, achievable goal.
One of the keys, Russell said, will be to get a fast start in their first road SEC contest of the young season.
“It’s more like a sense of urgency,” Russell said. “If you give a home team any kind of life, the fans are into it.”
If MSU can score early, Russell thinks they can deflate the home crowd and then take a advantage of the drop in spiritedness.
He knows Kentucky’s defense will be coming after him, saying he expects the Wildcats to blitz heavily. Russell recognizes UK has a good defensive unit, but says the loss of a pair of NFL linebackers from last year’s team is evident, something he hopes to advantage of.
If Kentucky does indeed blitz, the Bulldogs will be in position to complete many of the short passes and screens which were so effective against the Wildcats in 2011.
However, Russell is also hoping to get LaDarius Perkins and the run game going strong out of the gate.
“When LaDarius gets going, it opens up the pass,” Russell said. “They can’t stop both. That’s one thing we try to do.”
On the other side of the ball, Kentucky is rolling with a pair of freshmen at quarterback. While Russell certainly doesn’t feel bad for anyone, he knows what they’re going through.
“I feel comfortable once I complete the first pass and get hit,” Russell said. “As a freshman, it might be tough if you miss a few throws and go three-and-out the first drive.”