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Alabama Football vs. Mississippi State Preview: Q&A with For Whom the Cowbell Tolls

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At this point, are even the fans tossing their cowbells into the transfer portal?

Arkansas v Mississippi State Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

A big thanks to Landon Young from For Whom the Cowbell Tolls for taking the time to talk this week. As usual, keep your eyes open for the other half of our Q&A over there where I spend some time hyping up Josh Jobe

What’s up Roll Bama Roll??? It’s been a while. Not sure if I’m glad to be here or not.

Let’s get to it! Thanks for having me.

1) Okay, let’s rip the band-aid off and get this out of the way: what’s the situation with Kylin Hill, and how big of a deal is it if he’s not playing?

- From my understanding, he’s not going to be competing on Saturday night and I’m not sure if he will for the rest of the season. Leach has made it clear that he is going to do things his way and if Kylin doesn’t hop on board then the train is moving without him. So to answer your second question, I don’t think it’s a huge deal for the long term, but who wouldn’t want to have their best athlete on the field?

2) is K.J. Costello still the man, or are we gonna see a shiny new QB off the bench this weekend? Is Garrett Schrader still an option at all, or is he a full-time WR now?

- From this week’s presser, my understanding is the QB competition is in full swing between K.J. Costello and true freshman, Will Rogers. I expect to see both on Saturday. Garrett Schrader has officially entered the transfer portal and I don’t believe you’ll see him play the rest of the season at any position.

3) Speaking of receivers, State’s top two guys in catch volume are both running backs. WR Osirus Mitchell isn’t far behind. How many receivers are typically involved in your new offense under Mike Leach, and how are they used?

- It just depends on the number of receivers being used. I expect to see 6-8 different guys catch the ball, but lately, the only option has been to dump it to the running back over the middle because every team is rushing three guys and dropping eight. Osirus Mitchell has been the go-to guy from the start of the season, but I expect our RB, Marks, to have the most receptions on Saturday.

4) Has former Alabama receiver Tyrell Shavers made much of an impact? We’ve all been rooting for him.

- Welp. He too has entered the transfer portal. Let’s just say this week has been... interesting. Prior to this week, I’ve enjoyed watching him play.

5) Stats-wise, your defense has been holding opponents to under 300 yards per game, less than 60% passing completion, and under 3 yards per carry— all phenomenal numbers. Yet you’re only midway (42nd out of 101) in points per game allowed. Why haven’t those other great stats translated into actually preventing points?

- Usually, because offenses are starting near midfield every drive of the game. It’s frustrating to watch a good defense allow points. Mississippi State’s defense has played well enough to win every game this season.

6) What’s your weakest defensive position group? What’s the strongest?

- I would have to say the weakest is defensive backs, but they’re also playing really well. It’s hard to find a weak spot. Strongest... Linebacker. Mainly because of Erroll Thompson.

7) Give me one non-household name on offense and on defense who is likely to make a big play this weekend.

- Offense: Jo’Quavious Marks (RB) We saw bits and pieces of Marks against A&M, and he looked great.

- Defense: Erroll Thompson (LB) As mentioned, he’s just our best all-around player.

8) what’s your prediction for the game?

Bama wins, 35-7.

9) How are State fans generally feeling about year 1 of Mike Leach? How do you expect the rest of the season to play out?

Year ones are tough. Generally, I think State fans are feeling a bit of panic. Personally, I think it’s all going to be okay, and he will bounce back in the coming years. I expect the rest of the season to go as expected... wins here and there vs. the Vandy’s and hopefully the Ole Miss’s.