It is no secret that the receiving group for Mississippi State has been its Achilles heel all season long, and until Guidry and Heath get on campus next year, it will continue. But there are some changes that can be made to help out the receivers, and maybe make them look a little bit better than they do now.
First of all, it’s time to put Couch and Todd out there and let them learn on the fly. All season long we have been hearing Mullen say that these guys aren’t ready to start yet, but what could it hurt to put them out there? You already have guys who are under six foot tall dropping balls and not getting separation, so why not let your two six foot four guys go make those same mistakes? At least they would have a chance at making a play down the field that these smaller guys simply can’t make.
By playing Couch and Todd, you will be able to move guys like Gray and Myles to the slot which should only help them. Coming into the season Mullen talked about Gray playing on the outside which worried me, and now six games in, proves I had good reason to. Through six games in 2017, Gray has totaled just 17 receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns, which simply aren’t numbers you look for out of your number one receiver. Donald Gray is listed at five foot ten, which simply put, is just too small to play outside receiver, but if a guy his size were to be successful on the outside, they would need to have a combination of blazing speed and sensational route running, both of which Gray lacks.
Another thing I’d like to see more of, is lining Jordan Thomas and Farrod Green up on the outside more. These are two guys with Thomas at 6’5″ 280 pounds and Green at 6’3″ 245 pounds, that are mismatches for relatively every corner, safety and linebacker in the league. Mullen hyped the tight ends up all off-season, but the two have combined for just 11 receptions for 157 yards through six games. If you line up either one of these guys on the outside and allow them to run slants and five yard ins all game, these two would be nearly unstoppable, while also alleviating some of the pressure on Gray and Myles.
Another thing I’d like to see from Mullen, which after watching him for nine years I don’t believe he will do, is run more two back sets with a combination of Aeris Williams, Kylin Hill and Nick Gibson. Your best players are in the backfield, and should be used as often as possible. By putting two backs on the field at the same time, it allows multiple different looks, whether it be two backs in the backfield, or lining one up outside. You could run the triple option, shovel passes, run pass options for Fitzgerald or screens in a variety of formations that allows your best play makers to get the ball in space. If you want to take the pressure off of your receivers, you do that by getting your best play makers the ball in a variety of ways.
I’m not sure if any of this would actually help our offense, but at this point in the season, I feel like you have to try everything you can. I mean what is it going to hurt at this point?