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Relf-Russell combo should work well for Dogs

The Mississippi State quarterback battle between Chris Relf and Tyler Russell has been a tight one this spring.

Both players have had their moments, and both players have improved.

Ultimately, I don’t think it matters who emerges as the starter, because I think both are going to play next fall.

One of the most encouraging things about Relf is that he’s improved his passing enough this spring to be used as much more than just a specialty quarterback. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Relf is a big, powerful runner, and that will continue to be a central part of his repertoire.

Relf rushed for 500 yards last season and averaged 6.6 yards per carry, but he only attempted 41 passes. Keep in mind that he was suspended for two games.

This spring, he’s worked hard on his passing and has looked more comfortable throwing the ball. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen knows that Relf becomes that much more difficult to defend running the ball if he becomes a legitimate passer.

Of course, throwing the ball is what Russell does best, and now that he’s had a year in Mullen’s offense, his ability to air it out has been on full display all spring.

It may be that one of these guys takes the job and runs with it, but the great thing about Relf and Russell is that they’re different quarterbacks. The defense has to adjust depending on who’s on the field.

Playing two quarterbacks usually isn’t all that effective when they’re both the same quarterback. But when they’re different and do different things well, it can be a nice changeup.

I think that’s what you’re going to see next fall at Mississippi State in some capacity.

Plus, Mullen knows a thing or two about making it work with two quarterbacks, specifically one who’s built like a fullback and another one who’s more of a passer.

The Chris Leak-Tim Tebow combo was good enough to lead Florida to a national championship in 2006.