This time around, we talked with Landon Young with For Whom the Cowbell Tolls. Go check out their site to see my half of the Q&A when it posts.
1) Everyone loves to talk about QBs. Assume we non-Mississippi folk know absolutely nothing about your team: how do you guys use both Garrett Shrader and Tommy Stevens? Will both be a factor in this game?
Together, they’ve never really been a factor. I expect to see Tommy Stevens early and Garrett Shrader later in the game.
2) What is the identity of the Bulldog offense? The passing game? QB runs? Or does it live or die by running back Kylin Hill, who’s already over 1000 yards on the ground this season?
The Bulldog offense has several identities, unfortunately. With a healthy Tommy Stevens, the offense looks more balanced. With Garrett Shrader under center, the offense looks more geared toward the running game. Kylin Hill SHOULD always be the main factor, but sometimes that isn’t the case.
3) You guys have four receivers-- Osirus Mitchell, Deddrick Thomas, Stephen Guidry, and Isaiah Zuber-- Who all have stats in somewhat of the same ballpark (though Mitchell does have the edge in every category). Is this a true 4-headed threat at receiver, or are some of those stats for a backup that got time due to injury? And can you give a quick breakdown on their strengths/weaknesses as a group and who we should watch out for?
Honestly, the wide receivers look slightly better than last year, but there still isn’t any “make a difference” players. Osirus Mitchell does have an edge on most of them though. He had a heck of a catch over a defender vs. Arkansas.
4) Your offensive line has led your team to the 12th best team in not giving up stuffs and 16th best short yardage success rate-- Both elite run blocking numbers. They’re also giving up an average of 2.5 sacks per game, which is okay, but nothing special. Does their actual play this season back up that assessment?
The offensive line looks great against lesser opponents, but vs. quality SEC opponents, there has been zero time in the pocket. This position group certainly isn’t the worst on the team.
5) Your defense has been pretty decent at limiting your opponent’s passing completions, but the run defense has been quite dreadful and you’re barely averaging over 1 sack per game. What happened to the nasty defensive lines we’ve come to expect from you guys over the last 4-5 years?
The answer is quite simple. We lost 3 first-round defensive draft picks, 2 of which were on the line. We are experiencing hurt from losing Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat.
6) What three players on your defense are most likely to make the biggest plays?
Chauncey Rivers (DE), Leo Lewis(LB), and Cameron Dantzler(CB).
7) What position matchup do you think you guys have the best chance to exploit on Alabama, and which do you think Alabama has the best chance to exploit on the Bulldogs?
There probably won’t be much exploiting from our end on Saturday, but if Stevens has time, I think he could make some mid-range passes on Alabama’s LB’s and corners.
8) What’s your prediction for the game?
Optimistic: Bama 42-28.
Pessimistic: Bama 49-17.
9) How does the rest of the season play out for Miss State? Has it met or fell short of your preseason expectations?
The season has certainly fallen short of expectations. The expectations were 8-9 wins, and now we’re looking to beat Abilene Christian and fight for a bowl game in the Egg Bowl vs. Ole Miss.
10) Not a question, but please please beat Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.
Everyone hates that team.