QB Coach Woody McCorvey

Mississippi State quarterback coach/offensive coordinator Woody McCorvey has either seniors or freshmen among his group of quarterbacks. While there is some talent among both groups, there are still a few things they need to do before he will be happy with where they are.

What does he feel still needs to be improved before his quarterbacks will be where they need to be?

"Last year, we weren't proficient in our dropback passing game," said McCorvey. "In order for us to be good, we have to be good at that. It was either a breakdown in protection due to the line or the backs. Or, it was a breakdown in a route by the tight end or a receiver. Or, it was a quarterback who wasn't doing what he was supposed to do. That comes with maturity."

Does he see that maturity level in starting quarterback Omarr Conner, a 6-2, 222-pound junior?

"Omarr, in perfecting this offense, has to be good at not only the play-action passes, but at the 3 and 5-step drops." said McCorvey of the talented signal caller. "I feel comfortable with him at the 3-step drop, but he still needs improvement in the 5-step drop. And we can't run this offense completely unless we are able to do a good job in our 5-step passing game."

Where does his other senior quarterback, Brett Morgan (6-0, 204), stand?

"Brett is a guy that I feel comfortable putting into the ballgame." said the second-year offensive coordinator. "If he has to play, there won't be much 3 and 5-step drops. There might be some 3-step, but there won't be any 5. You always have to get him on the move to let him use his ability. When you get him in there with our checks in the running game, I feel comfortable with him doing that. When we are doing one-on-one, a lot of times he is running the 9-on-7 drill. That is where he has to get his reps."

Another QB that looks to be a major factor as far as backing up Omarr is Mike Henig (6-1, 180). What's his impression of Mike up to this point?

"Mike is making some progress and is a lot further along than he was this past spring," said McCorvey. "Mike has gotten better in terms of managing the huddle, knowing what is going on around him. The thing I have to do is speed Mike up because in this offense it's all about progressions, footwork, and getting things done and done correctly."

McCorvey also has two talented freshman that are getting their feet wet, Tray Rutland (6-2, 210) and Ty Evans (6-4, 199). So far, he has liked what he has seen from the duo.

"Tray Rutland has a lot of talent, a lot of ability," said McCorvey. "He is the prototype to running this offense. He has the height where he can see, a good arm, plus he has the athletic ability where he can move when things break down. That is the kind of guy you look for in this offense. I'm glad we got him because I think he is going to be a good quarterback for us. When (former MSU assistant coach) Stan Drayton saw him, he thought he did an excellent job throwing the ball. We got some tape in here on him and there was no doubt about his ability to throw the ball. But, he is a freshman.

"Ty is more of a pocket guy. I don't think he will be the kind of passer Tray is outside of the pocket. Ty is similar to Mike, although Mike does have some mobility that allows him to move when things break down. That is the one thing that Ty lacks. But, Ty is eager and smart and picks up things well. He can bring it from the classroom out to the field. He does a good job in the pocket and understands what we are talking about. But, this (offense) is a lot different from anything those guys ran in high school."

And last but not least, his quarterbacks, to do their job, will need blocking up front. In the past, the offensive line has been a concern. Has he seen improvement in that area?

"The biggest thing is their effort," said McCorvey. "You have a guy like (left tackle) Brian Anderson who is going to give you all he has. (Left guard) Johnny Wadley might not be the most talented guy in the world, but he is going to give you all he has. At right guard, you have (Anthony) Strauder. He has some athletic ability. He was also on defense and has a little toughness about him. (At center) Chris McNeil is a tougher guy now and will give you all he has. Eric Butler, if he ever comes around, can be a dominating blocker at tight end. And he showed that in the Auburn game last year. We have some guys who will fight you. What we have to do is develop some depth behind them."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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