The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

MSU quarterbacks prove their worth on the field

The 2016 Mississippi State Bulldogs Football team will debut tomorrow in the spring game. The main event of Super Bulldog Weekend and spring football season, this will be the first time this team puts on the maroon and white uniforms in front of the public eye.After a nine win campaign in 2015, MSU will look to continue their success but will do so without arguably the greatest player in MSU history. 

MSU will be without star QB Dak Prescott, who graduated and is entered in the NFL draft. Not only did MSU lose a star player, but they lose his leadership. With Dak gone, there have been a lot of eyes on the young QBs that backed him up. 

MSU is in a good position to pick between multiple QBs. Whether it be experience in Damian Williams, or young talent in Elijah Staley, Nick Fitzgerald and Nick Tiano.

Williams, a junior who redshirted last season, will always be remembered for saving MSU in overtime against Arkansas in 2013 with a 25-yard touchdown run. Williams is 37 for 60 on passes in his career, with 434 passing yards and three touchdowns. 

Both Staley and Fitzgerald saw time last season as backup, with Fitzgerald completing 11 of 14 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns last season. 

Staley ended up three for five passing last season with 51 yards and a single passing touchdown. Tiano redshirted last season, but came out of high school as a three star recruit who threw 2,096 passing yards and 16 touchdowns his senior year of high school. 

Fitzgerald gave his thoughts on the QB battle so far. 

“I think we are all four competing well,” Fitzgerald said. “I think we are all just helping each other out and making everyone the best they can be for Mississippi State.” 

On defense, MSU lost their entire defensive staff, defensive lineman Chris Jones, linebacker Beniquez Brown, cornerbacks Will Redmond and Taveze Calhoun, along with linebacker Beniquez Brown. That is a lot of leadership and talent for MSU to replace. However, there are players ready to replace them.

On the defensive line, senior AJ Jefferson will carry the torch after a good year last season. Jefferson had 47 tackles last season, 13.5 of which were for loss and five sacks. He talked after practice Tuesday about what he needs to do to build off of last season. 

“To just show that I can be more of a vocal leader and be more consistent,” Jefferson said. “Just need to stay humble, keep your head down and keep working.”

   In the secondary, young safeties Jamal Peters and Brandon Bryant are leaving their mark. Both bring a combination of skill and athleticism that a defensive coordinator looks for. 

Bryant changed his number from 20 to 1. He said it was because he wanted to be the No. 1 player on the field. He has already stepped in to that leadership role. He said he has been teaching the younger Peters.  

“Every time you see No. 1 out on the field, you think he is one of the best players on the field,” Bryant said. “It is just a lot of motivation for me.”

 The end of spring means the answer to a lot of questions for MSU’s coaching staff but also means some more questions popping up. The public will be able to see some of the position battles going on all over the field. 

Whether it be quarterback, linebacker, running back or offensive line, there will be a lot of new faces for MSU this year and the spring game is the perfect chance for them to display their skills. The spring game will be tomorrow and will start at 11 a.m. in Davis Wade Stadium. 

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MSU quarterbacks prove their worth on the field