Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen hasn’t revealed who he’ll start at quarterback against South Carolina, so the No. 15 Gamecocks are preparing for Chris Relf and Tyler Russell.
“We’ll see how practice plays out during the week, get everybody reps and whoever gives us the best chance to win, we’ll go play with them,” Mullen said Monday. “Kind of like we do every week.”
Relf, a fifth-year senior, has started the last 19 games for Mississippi State but has one touchdown pass and four interceptions in the last four games. Russell, a sophomore, was 11-for-13 for 166 yards and three touchdowns and led the Bulldogs to a 21-3 win over UAB after replacing Relf last week.
Mullen even mentioned playing third-stringer Dylan Favre, the nephew of former NFL quarterback Brett Favre, this week.
Whoever plays, the Gamecocks expect a running offense, spur Antonio Allen said.
“They are definitely going to run the ball with the quarterback and the running back,” Allen said. Relf “has a little problem throwing the ball, but I’m pretty sure he’ll overcome it and be ready to play.”
The Bulldogs are ninth in the SEC in scoring (26 points per game) and sixth in total offense (389.7 yards per game).
Senior defensive end Melvin Ingram, the SEC’s sack leader (5.5), didn’t practice Monday night and wore a walking boot on his sprained left foot. However, he plans to practice Tuesday and be “100 percent” by Saturday, he said.
Ingram played more than 10 snaps against Kentucky last week despite the injury.
“It was limited pain, but it really wasn’t unbearable pain,” he said. “I was always told, ‘Pain is just soreness leaving the body.’ I feel like Saturday I won’t have any pain and will be able to go.”
Sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw’s effort was recognized Monday by the SEC, which named him the league’s offensive player of the week. Shaw threw four touchdown passes, three of more than 20 yards, and 311 yards in a 54-3 win over Kentucky. Shaw was making his second career start, having supplanted fifth-year senior Stephen Garcia at the top of the depth chart.
None of South Carolina’s defensive assistant coaches spoke to the media Monday as is their usual practice. Coach Steve Spurrier indicated last week that he was going to limit the media appearances of his assistants and some of his players. None of the Gamecocks’ assistant coaches other than assistant head coach for defense Ellis Johnson spoke to the media last week.