A Q&A With Quarterbacks Coach Les Koenning

Mississippi State quarterbacks coach Les Koenning talks about his young QBs and the progress he has seen from them during the practices leading up to the January 1st Gator Bowl.

How have things gone as far as using the younger quarterbacks - Tyler Russell and Dylan Favre - in the practices leading up to the bowl game?
"It has been absolutely great. We have put them in situations where they can compete against each other. We watched them and charted everything, so it gives us an idea where they are mentally and physically. I've been impressed with both of them."

People have seen things that Tyler Russell can do during actual games but no one has seen Dylan Favre in games. Where is he physically and mentally?
"He is doing a tremendous job. He has been very impressive in the scrimmages and so has Tyler. Both of them have been impressive."

I want to talk about Dylan first, then we will talk about Tyler. Dylan looked impressive during the bowl practice scrimmage. Is that what you have seen from him during the fall practices?
"No, I think he has gotten better. I really do. When he first got here everything was new to him so things didn't come as easy to him. Now things are coming really easy for him."

I like to say he has a DB attitude, something that maybe offensive coordinators don't like.
"I like that, I like that. I told him he can't wear a thong and play quarterback (laugh)."

I saw a lot of impressive things from him during that scrimmage. The things he did, can he do those same things against SEC first-team caliber defenses?
"Yes, it's a position that you have to show toughness. If you don't show toughness, then your teammates aren't going to follow you. It's as simple as that."

How has Tyler Russell improved the last few weeks?
"I think the competition with Dylan has been unreal. Anytime you can have that type competition in a position it's going to make it tremendously better for the players. (Let's say) Chris is a little beat up and all of sudden he looks over there and he sees the two guys moving the team down the field, guys get well quick when they see that."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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