2010 MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS FOOTBALL REVIEW
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There’s nothing like a big time rival win at the end of a season to encourage a team and give them that can-win attitude. The Mississippi State Bulldogs got a taste of that mindset with their 41-27 victory over in-state rival Ole Miss at the completion of the 2009 season. As Coach Dan Mullen begins his second year at the helm in Starkville, will he be able to hone that positive attitude into lasting, winning team components for the 2010-11 season?
Much of that answer lies in who remains on the squad and who will be at the quarterback position. With the departures of Anthony Dixon (RB), an offensive high performer, rushing for 1,391 yards and 12 touchdowns last year, and linebacker Jamar Chaney (39 solo tackles, 90 tackles total in '09) the Bulldogs have some leadership roles to fill, but their list is not as extensive as other SEC teams. Stepping into Dixon’s place may be junior Robert Elliott. Elliott received play time in 12 games last year and looks to be a forerunner for Dixon's spot. But don't count out junior college transfer Vick Ballard, who with great agility and known for dragging some tacklers with him after contact to gain more yardage, could also be a consideration as well as red shirt freshmen Montrell Conner and LaDarius Perkins. At the cornerback position, four returning players throw their talents into the ring. Junior Damein Anderson has the most play time but was beat out by now senior Maurice Langston for starting time last year. Sophomore Corey Broomfield accumulated six interceptions last season while Louis Watson contributed in nine games including one start. At the end of the '09 season the Mississippi State pass defense was ranked 11th in the SEC, so how these four corners are utilized in 2010 will be a key impact in addition to the effectiveness of new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.
Thanks to Bluelightstar at flickr.com for the picture.
And then there is the scuffle for the quarterback slot with two primary players vying for starter, fourth year junior Chris Relf and red shirt freshman Tyler Russell. Unless Russell proves not ready for the SEC, it is likely that Relf and Russell will split their time on the field. While Russell may have a stronger arm and is more of a pure passer, Relf rushed for 500 yards last season and has taken a majority of the snaps this spring. Relf is higher on the depth chart and has more experience, but Russell comes into the picture with high expectations of living up to his recruitment stature. Mississippi State's best bet may be to mastermind an efficient way to reap the benefits of both players' talents, melding them into the optimal quarterback for the team.
The Bulldogs moved the ball last year and with a serious playmaker like Chad Bumphis returning to the offense, this, even with the QB in limbo, should not be their main area of concern. The defense is going to have to step it up and with a lot of personnel changes on the coaching staff it will be interesting to see how they live up to their side of the game.
Thanks to rogersmith at wikipedia.org for the picture.
Mississippi State fans expect nothing less than to return to a bowl game this year (don't all SEC fans?). And the Bulldogs certainly seem to be pointed in the right direction under Coach Mullen, but it will take some very confident and dedicated play to turn their 2009 SEC 3-5 record around. Don't be surprised to see them improve their overall record (5-7) by at least two games or more, and daze at least one more SEC opponent than they had luck with in 2009. Overall the Bulldogs head into the 2010-11 season as #9 with that sleeper team potential to creep up the SEC West rankings.
Bold= Home Game. * = Conference
More Mississippi State Bulldogs Football Articles:
- 2009 Mississippi State Bulldogse Football
- 2008 Mississippi State Bulldogs Football
- 2007 Mississippi State Bulldogs Football
- Mississippi State Bulldogs Football History
- Dan Mullen Biography -- (Mississippi Coach)
- Sylvester Croom Biography -- (Former Mississippi Coach)
- Mississippi State University Starkville Trip
- SEC Football Predictions
- SEC School Mascots
- Origins of SEC School Colors
- 2008 SEC Football Tickets
- Mississippi State Bulldogs Apparel
- Mississippi State University Bulldogs Merchandise
- Mississippi State Tailgate Party Shop
- Mississippi State University Bulldogs Fan Store
Thanks to haydensimons at flickr.com for the picture.
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