Saturday represented the first game of the 2010 season where junior Chris Relf took every snap of a game at quarterback.
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen quickly made sure this week fans understood he still expects to give opportunities to redshirt freshman backup Tyler Russell for playing time.
"We still want to develop Tyler Russell," Mullen said Sunday. "If we have an opportunity to play both of our quarterbacks, we'll do that."
Relf finished Saturday's 24-12 victory over Georgia 9-of-14 for 148 yards and two touchdowns in the passing game along with 109 yards on the ground on 20 carries. The final totals make Relf the first MSU player to rush and pass for 100-plus yards in the same game since Wayne Madkin in 2000.
“We played to his strengths a little bit – running the football to give him some confidence,” MSU’s second-year head coach said. “I was pretty pleased with Chris’ performance and his toughness out on the field.”
Russell said after Tuesday’s practice he and Relf are still splitting the practice repetitions are still split evenly throughout the practice week.
"You always got to be prepared," Russell said. "I'm not selfish and Chris did a good job. There's no reason to be selfish when we're winning. It's even at practice and we're getting the same number of reps."
Relf spent the second half of last week’s loss at LSU on the sidelines trying to recover from a smashing hit by LSU safety Karnell Hatcher.
On the first drive of the second half, Relf was scrambling for a first down before Hatcher made contact with the Bulldogs quarterback near the upper body but referees did not throw a flag for a personal foul hit to the head foul which Mullen was arguing for on the sidelines.
The difference between last week at LSU and Saturday night at Davis-Wade Stadium was an obvious throw to sophomore wide receiver Arceto Clark that looked similar to the interception in the first quarter at LSU.
“I prepared myself to make that throw again and led Arceto like I should have last week,” Relf said. “I’ve realized now if I’m more prepared to play and know what that means then I’ll play well.”
Former AD to return to Mississippi State campus as guest
Former Mississippi State athletic director Greg Byrne will be a guest on the Starkville campus this weekend.
The weekend of the Alcorn State football game will be Byrne’s first visit to MSU since leaving for the athletic director position at the University of Arizona in late March.
“It bothered me a lot,” Byrne said in March when he made the announcement. “I felt like people really have bought in and we need them to. The last thing I want to do is disappoint the people here because they’ve generally made Regina and my family feel welcome here.”
Byrne will be traveling with officials from his school’s athletic department to observe and take notes from the game operations personnel at Mississippi State throughout Saturday’s game against Alcorn State (11 a.m., Fox Sports Net).
The Arizona football program has an open date this weekend and will be at Washington State on Sept. 16.
Former Ole Miss QB criticizing fans
Former Ole Miss quarterback Romaro Miller has caused a stir after taking his issue over the fan atmosphere at home games in Oxford to the message board of the Ole Miss Spirit website this weekend.
Miller centered his letter to fans at fans that apparently leave early at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
“We had a great first half crowd and then I begin to see fans not come back after halftime,” Miller wrote on the message board. “For some reason we have made The Grove the pinnacle of a game weekend at Ole Miss. It’s a wonderful place, but the game has to be the main attraction.”
Miller’s letter has made its rounds on various internet sites along with him making radio appearances throughout the state Wednesday.
“We have the only fan base in the SEC that the team has to get the crowd up. We need to stop making excuses,” Miller wrote. “Our coaches work hard to get prospects to campus. If we bring them to a game and they see the second half crowd with most of them gone, my feeling is they will want no part of Oxford.”
During the Southeastern Conference media teleconference Wednesday, Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt said he had no comment on Miller’s letter because he simply hadn’t read it.
“The last home game was good, especially the first half," Nutt said. "I thought the students were awesome, the fans were into it. They were good.”