Russell: "If We Execute We'll Be Fine"

Either Tyler Russell is really focused on his business, or he really wanted to take advantage of the bye-weekend. Either way, the deer of Lauderdale County had little chance to cross paths with this Bulldog. "I only saw a few," reported Russell. "I only went out once."

It will be a long while before Mississippi State's quarterback can take the bow back, or oil the guns again. There are eight regular-season games and a bowl trip to take care of, beginning with this weekend's trip to Kentucky. Russell and team have a Thursday practice to make final installations for the Wildcats, then a Friday walk-through and afternoon flight.

Following a team meal in the Bryan Building, Russell met with media prior to the afternoon workout.

Your pass efficiency is better in road games than home games, what is it on the road for you? "I think when you're on the road you have to do lot of things, to put the offense in situation to go down the field and score. It's more like a sense of urgency. And it shouldn't be like that, but it is. Because if you give a home team any kind of life, if you go out there and are three-and-out now the fans are into it. So I try to put the ball in the best position to go down there and score, and once we score just keep doing it and the fans start to quiet down. So it's almost like you're playing at home, if you take the fans out of it."

Did you have the itch after South Alabama to get back out there? "Oh yeah. Yeah. I wanted to be back out there real soon. I didn't even want to have a bye-week, I wanted to play on Saturday."

What was it that game? "I was just off on some throws. Just throws I normally make, I didn't make that game. And I've been working really hard in practice to get more patience with the receivers. We've talked it over, watched film trying to see the little things DBs try to do to us."

What do you remember from Kentucky last year? "Just they pretty much are running the same defense. Going back and watching that game, I took what they gave me. I didn't try to force the ball down the field or anything like that. If I had a big play down the field I gook it, if I didn't I checked the ball down and kept moving the sticks."

Is this week then about playing within yourself? "Definitely. You're trying to get back to where you were at when we played Auburn, just taking the short passes. And then when they give you something deep go ahead and take it. We're just getting back to our style of football."

Has the plan flipped from last year, because they haven't stopped the run this year? "I don't know. Like I said, we're going to go out there and run our offense. If we're having a good day throwing the ball we're going to throw the ball. If we running the ball really well we're running the ball. I can't say what we're going to do, the coaches will call the play and we'll go for it. They're going to call a play and if I don't like it I'll change it, or something like that. But we'll always be in the right play."

State is in the top-half of SEC team passing yardage, but not a single receiver is in the top-15, is that the sort of balance this team has? "Yeah, and we've got four senior wide receivers. Everybody wants the ball, but the guys know that when their time comes you've got to be able to go out there and make plays. And I'm going t put the ball in the best spot that I think we can make plays for what the defense gives us."

"So all our guys are hungry, and that's something you want. You don't have just one older guy that you constantly ‘we have to get him the ball'. All our guys are good catching the ball. So I don't feel any kind of pressure that we've got to get this guy the ball. I just go out there and make my reads and whoever gets the ball, gets the ball."

Kentucky lost some good linebackers to the NFL, do you see a difference on defense? "I think this year they are more prevalent to a lot more blitzes. So we've been working on that kind of stuff. You know, it's just a compliment to our offense being able to throw the ball, people trying to stop you with blitzes. So you work on that a lot more, and we're comfortable with our offensive line and we know we're good on our IDs."

You saw Kentucky's game with South Carolina, how dangerous is this type of game? "I think it goes back to last year, to our UAB game. Games you're supposed to go out and dominate the team. And even some games this year; I think last year some of the games we've been in this year we would have found a way to lose those games. That just goes back to you have to play all four quarters."

"Those teams practice just like we practice. They've got scholarship guys just like us. They're not going to lay down and let you come into their home stadium and just run all over them. They're going to play. We have to go out and execute. It's more about us than them. If we go out and execute we'll be fine. That's something we lacked in the South Alabama game, so we got back to the basics. We worked on catching the balls and routes. So I think everybody is comfortable, and excited. We had a good bye-week and rested some guys up so we're ready to go play."

Is it good having Malcolm Johnson back? "Oh yeah. He's doing really well right now."

They have two freshman quarterbacks, do you recall your own first start and what are a few things you'd like to have back? "I'd like to have back…you know, when I needed to make plays, I made plays. I wasn't good at my, I'd say decision making. My completions weren't high, I only completed eleven passes or something like that. But when I need to make the passes I made them. That pick at the end of the game I wish I had back, that safety read my eyes and went over there and intercepted that ball. We were going down to score and that's one thing I wish I had back. But you can't harp on anything from last year, you have to move forward and not make the same mistake this year."

Has there been a game you were nervous for? "What I always say, if you're not nervous you're not ready to play. I wouldn't call it nervousness but you're always excited, ready to get out there. You've been preparing all week and you're ready to go out there for the first play."

"I feel comfortable when I make the first completion, or I get the first hit, then I'm ready to go. So that gets me going. As a freshman it's hard to do that because you might go out there and not complete the first three passes, it's three-and-out and now you've given the ball back to the other offense. So it takes a toll on you. But for me last year I was able to keep pushing because I had older guys around me to help me make plays."

You tied the record for consecutive throws without an interception, did you have any idea you were close to that record? "Oh, no. You don't think about anything like that. You just go out and play."

Do you wish you had that pass back? "I mean, I was just making a read, trying to get the ball to Arceto one-on-one. And the guy just did a good job of reading the route, reading my eyes, and he made a play on the ball."

How big a day could LaDarius Perkins have at Kentucky? "You know, when LaDarius gets going it opens up the pass, because they can't stop both. That's one thing we try to do. If you go back to the Troy game, I told him at halftime you've got to step up, we're not able to make plays down the field throwing the ball so you're going to have to step up and make some plays and take some pressure off some of the guys. He was able to step up and do that, and it opened up the passes and we were able to complete some. So I think he will have a big day. I think he's scored a touchdown every game he's going to be LaDarius and make plays for us."

How would a win set you guys up for next week and Tennessee at home? "I mean, when you go in every game your job is to win a game. We can't look forward to next week, we've got to handle business this week and win this game. Then we'll worry about that. Right now were' taking that one game at a time. Right now we played our last game and beat South Alabama, so we're 1-and-0, now it's time to go back to another game."


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