Mississippi State has a quarterback competition on its hands heading into fall camp. Keytaon Thompson exited the spring as the heir apparent to Nick Fitzgerald and is 2-0 as a starter. But the addition of Tommy Stevens as a graduate transfer from Penn State sets up the Bulldogs’ for a major battle at the position entering the season opener.
Stevens played under Joe Moorhead for two seasons in State College and has more experience in the offense.
Both players have produced similar statistics in limited action and
Moorhead said that the quarterback that throws the ball with the most accuracy will win the job. He alsosaid he’d like know who his starter is by the end of a scrimmage scheduled for Aug. 21 but didn’t want to paint himself in a corner with that date.
TE’S WILL BE FEATURED
Tight ends were expected to be a big part of Moorhead’s offense last season but it didn’t really turn out that way with only 33 catches for 406 yards and two touchdowns for the entire unit combined.
Justin Johnson graduated taking his position-leading 17 catches for 238 yards and one touchdown with him, but the Bulldogs still have a bevy of talented options back at tight end in Farrod Green, Dontea Jones, Brad Cumbest, Powers Warren and Geor’quarius Spivey.
Green said at SEC Media Days that Moorhead utilized a lot more two tight end formations during the spring.
ZUBER WILL MOVE AROUND
The Bulldogs got a versatile playmaker when Isaiah Zuber arrived as a graduate transfer from Kansas State. Zuber led the Wildcats with 52 catches for 619 yards and five touchdowns last season and has 127 receptions for 1,321 yards in his career.
Moorhead has plans to play the 6-foot, 190-pounder both inside and outside at receiver in addition to working him as a returner on special teams.
Osirus Mitchell had the most catches (26) for MSU last season while Stephen Guidry (440) had the most yards so Zuber’s addition was much needed.
When Moorhead arrived at the airport after being hired in November 2017, he got off the plane asking his new players their ring sizes.
Moorhead now wishes he would’ve pumped the brakes a little bit.
“I am not saying I’m changing what our goals are, but the approach of coming off the plane gun’s blazing, talking about ring sizes and Heisman Trophies,” Moorhead said. “The expectation level of the team entering the season, prior to me even getting there, and I think what I did with that, without knowing kind of the history and the context of how difficult it is to win in this league, and specifically Mississippi State where there’s two 10-win seasons in school history and two championship appearances, one in ‘98 and one before World War II, in ‘41, and I think what I may have done is elevated the expectation level to a point where nothing that we did short of a championship was going to make people happy. And I wouldn’t have changed the goals, but I probably would have kept it a little bit more in house.”
COACHES ARE FANS, TOO
Moorhead played quarterback at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, as did his childhood idol Dan Marino.
Moorhead wore Marino’s No. 13 for a good bit of his playing career and has been trying for years to get Marino to follow him on Twitter. He even reached out to Jackie Sherrill, who was Marino’s college coach at Pittsburgh, but to no avail.
So Moorhead used his platform at SEC Media Days to plead for a Twitter follow from Marino.