What’s to like
Heading into year two for Joe Moorhead in Starkville, the personnel seems to look a bit more like what we envisioned for a program led by the offensive mastermind. The receiver group should make big strides, the offensive line will be even more athletic and there are three viable options at quarterback.
Joe Moorhead has shown he is not scared to go into the transfer portal, grabbing a quarterback and now wide receiver for 2019.
Even after a historical draft showing, depth still remains on the defensive side of the ball. Additionally, Chauncey Rivers, Willie Gay, Brian Cole and Cam Dantzler bring potential star power to the unit. Perhaps most important, however, is that defensive coordinator Bob Shoop returns to lead the unit. He inherited a unit for the first-time last season and put a special product on the field, and there’s reason to believe he could create a semblance of that again this year.
Yes, the offensive side of the ball has potential to break out, but it also has potential building blocks. Running back Kylin Hill geared up last offseason for a breakthrough on to the national scene, this year that is an even stronger possibility. Then there’s former Penn State quarterback, and Moorhead recruit, Tommy Stevens, who just recently announced a transfer to Starkville. He could plug in nicely.
What to be concerned about
Perhaps the strongest concern is that Mississippi State is a program led by an offense-first head coach heading into his second season, without a true, proven option at quarterback. After all, that position will have to put the offense into another gear this season if it is to get there. A quarterback will have to elevate a budding receiver group, not the other way around. And Moorhead showed failure in many circumstances last season to let a strong running game be his offensive backbone.
The Bulldogs have big bodies that have played SEC football in the front seven. Then there’s the talented Brian Cole, Maurice Smitherman and Dantzler in the secondary. However, there are too few proven pass rushers, and too many youngsters will be counted on at safety and corner heading into the season.
What the HourGlass says
The HourGlass predicts that Mississippi State makes it back to bowl season this year with a 7-5 record (3-5 in SEC play). The Bulldogs are also projected to keep the Egg bowl trophy, so there’s that.