Redshirt Freshman Kyle York Happy to Contribute

[Premium Article] A team player from the word go, Mississippi State redshirt freshman Kyle York doesn't worry about who the quarterback is as long the Dogs play up to par.<P> That's the key, putting up a "W" week after a week, as far as the fast-developing young player from Spring, Texas is concerned.

Already having been called on to start twice this season, all-be-it on short notice, York has answered the bell with some impressive results. In his most recent outing, he led the Dogs to a "big" road win over Memphis to even his record as an MSU starter at 1-1.

Neither time did York, who passed for over 5,000 yards during three years as a starter in the prep ranks, get as much as a week's notice he'd be starting for the Bulldogs.

Mississippi State veteran Jackie Sherrill, Dean of the SEC coaches, didn't hesitate to call the Lone Star State recruit into action on a moments notice.

"There's a reason he passed for over 5,000 yards," said Sherrill, who once recruited in York's home when the Dogs' future QB was but two years old.

"His dad (Toby York) was a coach and Kyle plays with confidence. He grew up in a coaches' home and that's so helpful. He's had academic success as well," pointed out Sherrill, who said the young quarterback "did a fine job" at Memphis.

York piloted the Dogs to a 29-17 win at Memphis, finishing with some solid statistics, but most of all, he gained a lot of valuable experience for the future.

Not getting the nod until the final stages of preparations for the Tigers with regular Kevin Fant on the mend, York responded by directing MSU to a decisive win at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. He completed 19-of-29 passes for 149 yards while leading the Dogs on a decisive, game-winning, fourth quarter drive.

"The last drive of the first half helped me get started," said York, who completed four straight passes during the possession and seven of nine overall to get the Dogs in field goal range, a 42-yarder by Brent Smith.

York said he got plenty of help on the sidelines with Fant "eager to help" all he could. "We help each other anyway we can," he added.

"I finally got the rhythm in the Memphis game that I had been searching for," explained York, selected one of the 36 players to play in the Texas-California All-Star game. He passed for a school-record 2,802 yards and 31 touchdowns his senior prep campaign. He also holds a Texas state record of having thrown seven TD passes in one game.

"I'm satisfied to do anything I can to help our team win and I believe we are going to win," he said. "This team is too talented. We've had our ups and downs but I believe we're close to jelling as a team," he said of the 3-4 Bulldogs.

A member of the MSU chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a very active participant in the work of the Lord, York said there's no question but that he's been blessed.

York's statistics show the Texas product has been productive. His first start came in the 2002 season opener against then Top 10-ranked Oregon at Eugene, Ore. He's connected on over 50 percent of his passes this season (42-of-81) for a .519 percent completion average with one touchdown and a long play of 39 yards.

"Whether I take one snap or 80 snaps, I'm grateful for the position I'm in here at Mississippi State and I definitely feel like the role that I play on the team is something that can be used to help us win football games," said York during game week preparations for the surprising Kentucky Wildcats who'll be in the neighborhood Saturday afternoon for a big SEC duel at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.

His role on the football team is not in question, at least not by the Bulldogs' backup quarterback, who hopes to one day nail down a starting assignment. But for now he's content to just help the team anyway that he can.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't one day expect to be the starting quarterback," said York, who added he's patterned his game to some degree after Dan Marino, the retired Miami Dolphins All-Pro who ironically played under Sherrill at Pittsburgh.

"If I could be half as good as Dan Marino, that would be something," said York, who admits he's studied Marino and the little things like his quick release.

"I learned a lot from my dad who coached some 18 years and also Sparky Woods (MSU Quarterback coach) who has taught me a lot," added York.

Kyle's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Toby York, will be in Starkville this weekend to cheer on the Bulldogs and their son. His dad played football at Abilene Christian.

"They're big football fans. They come to all the games and that means a lot," said York, who has a lot of fans of his own.

Don Foster, a veteran newspaper writer who is the Sports Editor for the Starkville Daily News, writes a weekly article for Gene's Page.

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