Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen is like the rest of us. He really has no idea if or how OSU will platoon its quarterbacks Saturday in Houston.
But Mullen seems to have a decent understanding of the pulse of Cowboy quarterbacks Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh.
“You gotta get ready,” Mullen said this week. “For them, one is a little bit more of a runner (Walsh), the other is a little more of a passer (Chelf). But to me, when you look at their two quarterbacks, they’re not a runner and a passer. They both do each well. One’s probably a little stronger in each category than the other. But you wouldn’t classify them as purely runner and purely passer.
“With that being said, I don’t think they’re going to run a different offense with those guys, just a little different flavor depending on who’s in the game and how those guys execute it.”
Mullen also showed some insight about the Air Raid offense in general, be it Mike Leach at Texas Tech or the variations stretching all the way to Stillwater.
“For us, it’s about being in the right place and at the right time,” Mullen said. “When you’re playing a team that’s going to spread it out all over the field, one of the most important things is open-field tackling. That’s going to be huge for our defense.”
Mullen expounded. He wants Mississippi State to avoid giving up big plays; try to make OSU drive the field methodically.
“Big plays are the results of missed assignments,” Mullen said. “Maybe they went tempo and they went fast and somebody missed an assignment. Or you get a guy one-on-one in the open field and they miss a tackle. Those are the things we have to avoid to not give up the big play.”
OSU certainly is a big-play team. Last season, eight Cowboys produced a run or a reception of at least 50 yards. Eight. Josh Stewart, Charlie Moore, Joe Randle, Isaiah Anderson, Blake Jackson, Austin Hays, Kye Staley and J.W. Walsh. All but Randle and Anderson are back.