Stephen F. Austin vs Mississippi State : Where Mississippi State stands on both sides ahead of Stephen F. Austin,STARKVILLE — Luke Getsy and Bob Shoop looked tranquil inside the Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex this week. They didn’t reveal game-week jitters concerning Mississippi State’s season opener against Stephen F. Austin on Saturday — probably because they simply don’t have any.
Both Getsy and Shoop, MSU’s offensive and defensive coordinator, respectively, feel great about this week’s matchup with the Lumberjacks. Here’s where each coach’s unit stands heading into game day.
Getsy’s offense expects to put up points
NCAAF College Football 2018 Week-1
Stephen F. Austin vs Mississippi State Live
Date : Saturday, September 1
Start Time :07:30 PM ET
Stephen F. Austin vs Mississippi State
Senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald will watch from the sideline because of his sudden suspension. That doesn’t mean Getsy will ease into the playbook with sophomore Keytaon Thompson taking the shots. Getsy said the game will be called the same as it would if Fitzgerald was behind center.
Thompson reminded reporters that he and Fitzgerald have a lot of the same abilities. They have similar downfalls too — neither has been as accurate a passer as head coach Joe Moorhead expects of his signal callers. Getsy thinks that will change because of the way the skill players around the quarterbacks have grasped this offensive system.
“That ball is going to get distributed,” Getsy said. “We’re fortunate enough to have playmakers in a bunch of different positions.”
The players Thompson will throw to have supreme size. None of MSU’s starting receivers are shorter than 6-foot-3. Though Getsy said having height isn’t the most important thing he’s looking for in a receiver, he said it certainly helps.
“When you’re quarterback and you have a bigger target, you can leave the ball in different places and (have) the expectation that they’re going to get their hands on it,” he said.
As for the running backs, expect to see a balanced distribution of carries. Getsy said senior Aeris Williams and sophomore Kylin Hill are players who need to get the ball often for the Bulldogs to have success. Therefore, they will.
“You know how backs go, When one gets hot, you kind of end up riding ’em,” Getsy said. “I think either one of them can be that guy any week. They’re both going to get opportunities and a lot of them.”
Shoop’s defense dials in
Moorhead said at the beginning of the week that he won’t overlook Stephen F. Austin. Neither will Shoop.
“We certainly respect their offensive capabilities and we respect their scheme,” Shoop said.
Even though Shoop talked at length about how the Lumberjacks’ wide receivers all pose serious threats to his secondary, he was adamant that taking care of the Bulldogs’ own business is far more important than getting caught up in Stephen F. Austin’s star players.
“Like any opening game, it has nothing to do with the opponent,” Shoop said. “It has to do a little bit more with us than it does them. They could come out and do just about anything and we just have to follow our rules, get aligned, read our keys, communicate, run to the ball and tackle.”
Moorhead preaches competing against a championship standard, not an opponent. Shoop has taken it to heart, and he has Moorhead’s own offense to thank for getting the defense prepared to play up to that standard.
Shoop said Moorhead’s run-pass options keep the State defense on its toes. Many offenses incorporate RPO’s now — Shoop said “that’s the nature of the game in 2018.” Because of it, Shoop believes his defense is versatile and ready to defend a variety of different looks. The Bulldogs get their first opportunity to prove him right Saturday night.