Carroll Looking For Bigger Role In 08

Mississippi State sophomore quarterback Wesley Carroll will be a focal point for the Bulldogs' offense in 2008.

Hoover, Ala.--Tim Tebow was the rock star on the first day of SEC Media Days but if you ask Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom the quarterback he likes it would be MS sophomore Wesley Carroll. Playing as a true freshman last season, Carroll led the Bulldogs to eight wins and a bowl victory in a year when no one thought they would get out of the cellar in the Western Division.

Because of that and his work in the off season, Carroll was the immediate choice for Mississippi State's representative at media days. While it's not unusual for a quarterback to be that guy for his team, Croom bristled when asked about bringing a sophomore to Hoover.

"He knows how to win and he's the leader of our offense," Croom said of Carroll. "I didn't read in the handbook where you had to bring a senior."

Knowing how to win is something that Carroll has done since his time at St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Despite not having the biggest numbers or a big arm or even ideal size, Carroll got the job done for the Bulldogs and he said that's really all that matters in the grand scheme of things.

"It really doesn't bother me," Carroll said. "If anything it's motivation. As long as we're winning that's all that matters. I'm not worried about people saying my body is the right size or I'm the right height. In the West Coast offense you don't have to have that gunslinger arm. You just need to have an accurate and effective arm. More than anything it's mental as a quarterback playing in this system."

Starting nine games for the Bulldogs, Carroll completed just 52.5 percent of his passes for 1,392 yards and nine touchdowns with seven interceptions. Almost a third of his passing yards came in a 421-yard performance against Arkansas. It wasn't until the seventh game of the season before Carroll passed for more than 100 yards or attempted more than 12 passes in a game. He said that was by design and it actually worked to both his and the team's benefit in 2007.

"The thing coach McCorvey did which was a big reason we were successful is that we didn't run any plays we weren't capable of running," Carroll said. "We weren't going to fool ourselves going four-wide and running four vertical routes. That's just not part of our offense. Our offense is about moving the ball consistently, moving the chains, controlling the clock, and determining the flow of the game."

Things could change this season for Carroll though as increased production at the end of the year and a spring practice under his belt have given him a much better feel for the offense. Because of that Carroll said he's ready to see how much improvement the team has made as well as how much more of the offense they'll be able to employ in 2008.

"I feel like he put a lot more into my hands to make more reads at the line of scrimmage," Carroll said. "Whether it was a pass or run called I can check into something else. We can take our alert or hot routes more. We did that in the spring and utilized a lot more of our speed at receiver."


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