QB to take more chances

Mitch Mustain is learning when to take chances and when to go for the tougher throws. It's all in the growing up process as far as playing QB in the SEC.

Mitch Mustain said the goal against Utah State was to "keep it conservative," and he understands the reason was to hold down the turnovers. But he promises that he'll take more and more chances as the season progresses.

"He's right," said Gus Malzahn, the offensive coordinator. "We were trying to eliminate turnovers and it was his first start. We wanted to take it slow with him and you saw that we did that early on.

"But he'll take more chances and he'll make more plays as we go along. I know him and he's right. He did what we asked him to do. Each game, you are going to see him get more and more comfortable with his receivers, know they are going to be exact in their routes and he'll try to do more things with them. That's his nature to try some things and we'll do that with him."

Mustain said it's a matter of finding the happy medium.

"There is a fine line between being careless and knowing what to do," he said. "I hope to find that as we move along. I know that anytime you can reduce turnovers, that's a good thing. There are two sides to this as far as being conservative with the throws or making turnovers.

"We didn't make turnovers, but I may have gone with the conservative throw to make sure that is what we were doing. I'll get better at knowing when to go to the right guy and not be so conservative. I've never thought that way and I'll get better at it."

By the same token, Mustain knows the Hogs haven't got the polish down in the passing game.

"We are going to get more balanced as we go," he said. "I think you see us establishing the run and that's going to open things up for us in the passing game. But you have to establish that run. I understand that will help us down the line."

Malzahn said the Hogs went into the Utah State thinking about "ways to protect our quarterback, a quarterback making his first start." Will that be the case this week when the Hogs are starting a true freshman QB in his first road game?

"Well, that's a fact, any time you start a true freshman in a hostile environment, it's a concern," he said. "But this is a game that we know will be close and will require using the weapons we have. I don't want to go into details. I don't want to give away secrets, but Vandy is a very important game to us."

Where is the offense?

"Hopefully, not far away," Malzahn said. "We better be able to click away pretty quickly. We are into SEC play. We are playing a good, tough, physical defense that is going to try to hit us in the mouth.

"I just want us to get better each week. We've got a bunch of young guys playing at quarterback and wide receiver and I think you'll see us improve each week."

Will the Hogs use more of the no-huddle offense?

"That's one of our weapons," Malzahn said. "I think we are going to continue to use it and see how effective it is and how our players are adjusting and what it does to the other team. It's a weapon, sure. I expect it will give us an advantage at times."

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