"Wes picked up right where he left off last year. It was a tough situation when he came in. We were going to redshirt him, but a situation came up in the Auburn game when Michael Henig got hurt. He definitely, at that time, had to be the backup. Once we put him in he showed us that he had enough maturity to handle the situation. As things went on, he kept getting better.
"Several good things about Wes is he studies the game, he manages it well, and he doesn't take chances. That's why he went so long of a time without throwing an interception. He took what the defense gave him. He didn't mind dumping the ball off to the backs or throwing underneath to the receivers. And he didn't force things down the field that at times causes interceptions.
"I feel like he will be a lot better this year because he had a chance to play last season and played at critical times including a bowl game. And he did well as time progressed during the season. And when we came back this spring, he picked up exactly where he left off. I expect him to come in this fall and pick up this offense and take it to where we want it to go. He has the expertise to be able to do that and that's what I expect him to do."
Considering he had surgery prior to his freshman year at State, his arm strength wasn't 100% when he first got to MSU. Is his arm now 100%?
"His arm strength got better as we went along. Early in the year, when he was having to play a lot after just coming off surgery, that bothered him some. But I felt like his arm in the bowl game was the strongest that it had ever been since he had been here. He threw some passes, particularly in practice, that really kind of amazed everybody.
"I've talked to (MSU head trainer) Paul Mock about Wes and I've also talked to (team) Dr. Linton. Both feel good about where he is right now. When he gets back here, he should be rested and completley ready to go."
What does Chris Relf bring to the quarterback position?
"Chris definitely has a lot of ability. He is a tall guy, which makes it even easier for him to see. He has a strong arm. He's big, physical and can definitely run. This spring, Coach Croom pulled the red jersey off of him and Tyson Lee to see how they would react in full contact competition. I was pleased with what Chris did when we did that. I have no doubt that he has the ability to be a really good football player, but the thing that he lacks is the experience. He did not play as much quarterback in high school as Wes did.
"Another thing I like about him is how he studies the game. He comes over here and spends a lot of time watching video not only of himself but opponents and things that went on in practice. That will be a big plus for him if he can transfer that to the field.
"How much he plays this year will be determined by how well we do offensively and how well Wes progresses. But I definitely hope at some point in time we will be able to get him in games to see what he can do in game competition."
What are your thoughts about junior college transfer Tyson Lee?
"Tyson is in a little different situation because he has two years of collegiate experience at the junior college level. That gives him an edge over Chris right now.
"I felt like he showed a lot of presence on the practice field and what he can really do. He does a really good job of getting the ball out on the edge and making things happen in the passing game. He also has a lot of knowledge and does a good job studying the game. But I still don't have a good feel about him back in the pocket, and he still needs to get a better grasp of the offense.
"I feel very confident that if we have to put him in a ballgame he will be able to function."
As a group, what impresses you the most about all three of these guys?
"The thing I like about all of these guys is that they are really mobile. When things happen that causes breakdown, they can make something happen. A lot of people say you play with your legs, but I believe everything has to come from the brain to make everything else function. And the thing I like about all of these guys is when they see things happen that cause breakdowns, they can pull the football down and make a play. Wes did that several times last year. We also had some things designed that allowed him to run the football. Because of that, the defenses have to not only worry about everybody else, but they have to worry about these guys running the football, too."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.