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By LEE ADAMS
Tyler Russell is adjusting after first start.
After the controversy surrounding the Mississippi State quarterbacks last week, the sophomore was chosen the starter in last Saturday's 14-12 loss to South Carolina.
A week before earning his first career collegiate start, Russell led the Bulldogs to a win over UAB with a solid second half. Now that he has a few days to watch film and think about his first start, he can reflect on how it went.
"I think I did some things good, but I think there are some things I need to work on," said Russell. "You can always be better and that's what you take from the game."
Some of the things he could have done better was have been not to throw two interceptions and connect on the deep shot downfield that were overthrown.
Russell feels it was a timing issue on the deep passes and there's only one way to fix that.
"You have to get it in practice," sad Russell. "There's no excuse for me to miss some of the throws I missed in the game. I got to make those throws because I make them in practice."
"Those are the plays you have to hit. Unfortunately, we couldn't hit a play like that, we hit them in practice and we are expected to hit them in the game, but it just didn't work out for us."
Despite his mistakes, Russell feels that he managed the game pretty well even if his stats didn't reflect that. Even though his stats were not stellar, MSU head coach Dan Mullen wasn't disappointed by Russell's performance, but sure noticed what all he needs to work on.
"He made some throws and made some plays scrambling around," said Mullen. "He missed a couple of throws that I think he should have pulled the trigger and he didn't. He's got to do a better job with his eyes, looking people off, holding defenders and not just staring down receivers."
While Mullen has him working to fix those issues during the bye week they are currently in, Russell added another thing to the to-do list.
"I'm basically working on my footwork," said Russell. "Sometimes during the game, my footwork wasn't up to par like I would like it."
Saturday may have been Russell's first start, but he has played in numerous games during his first season and a half. He has played in 13 games and threw for a career high 256 passing yards during his first game last season against Memphis, and finished the season with 635 yards. This season he has thrown for 348 yards so far, but if he remains the starter that number could escalate quickly.
Even though, he has a start under his belt now, Russell isn't going to take it easy.
"If anything, it makes me work harder," said Russell. "I see the things I did good and I see the things I did wrong and I know my potential is there, and I just have to keep working."
Russell was the starter for the South Carolina game, but that doesn't mean he will start under center next week in Kentucky.
MSU still has senior quarterback Chris Relf available if Russell has a bad week of practice. Relf started 19 consecutive games before Saturday.
Right now, Mullen says the starter will be a week to week basis and depends on practice.
Russell isn't the only one getting time with the other starters.
"We all get reps with the ones, and in the end, coach makes the final decision," said Russell.