Mississippi State returns 16 starters from final 12 months’s staff.
That’s extra expertise than a whole lot of groups have.
However that doesn’t imply the Bulldogs have any fewer questions than most groups.
They nonetheless have a whole lot of stuff to determine because the 2022 season approaches.
Listed here are the ten most crucial questions dealing with Mississippi State getting into fall camp:
1. Is Will Rogers going to have to interrupt extra information?
Rogers couldn’t have finished far more than he did final season.
He broke Dak Prescott’s single-season college information for passing yards (4,739) and landing passes (36).
However Rogers may need to do much more if the Bulldogs are going to enhance on their 7-6 file in 2021.
He can’t throw much more passes. In any case, he threw 62 in opposition to LSU and 67 in opposition to Memphis on his method to 683 throws final season.
However he may need to discover a method to be extra productive if State goes to be extra profitable.
2. Do the Bulldogs have a go-to broad receiver?
It’s fairly sure that nobody will match the school-record manufacturing of final season’s go-to receiver (Makai Polk) – 105 receptions and 1,046 receiving yards. (He additionally led the staff with 9 touchdowns.)
The highest candidate to step into Polk’s position would have been Malik Heath, however he transferred to Ole Miss.
So who’s subsequent?
State has a bunch of skilled receivers and head coach Mike Leach will make it possible for there are many Rogers passes to go round.
However somebody has to show he might be the first goal.
3. Will there be a modicum of a working recreation?
Rogers and the passing recreation can be more practical if it has extra of a complement from the working recreation.
The protection, which was ninth within the SEC in scoring (25.9), can have a greater likelihood of bettering that stat if the offense is extra balanced and may maintain the ball longer.
However there’s no motive to count on that.
State was final within the SEC final season in speeding yards per recreation (63.2), complete speeding yards (821) and yards per rush (3.0) – and Leach isn’t more likely to run the ball considerably extra ceaselessly than the SEC-low (by far) of 270 rushes final season.
The digital absence of a working recreation isn’t going to be useful.
4. Can the tackles forestall a drop-off on the offensive line?
Each beginning tackles are gone from final season, together with the No. 9 decide within the NFL Draft (Charles Cross).
That alone created a giant query in regards to the offensive line. Then just a few minor accidents led to some shuffling alongside the road that slowed the transition throughout spring apply.
So it’s unclear when a beginning 5 will come into focus and whether or not that group can get previous its rising pains earlier than the SEC schedule begins Sept. 17 at LSU.
5. Can the Bulldogs maximize scoring alternatives?
They didn’t rating all that a lot final season.
State was ninth within the SEC (29.1 factors per recreation) even with Rogers and Polk having historic seasons.
It’s going to be a problem for them to attain extra factors in the event that they don’t do a greater job of translating yards (principally of the passing selection) into factors.
6. Who’re the leaders within the secondary?
The Bulldogs misplaced solely 3 starters from final season’s protection, however 2 had been within the secondary – security Fred Peters and cornerback Martin Emerson.
State has skilled gamers returning, nevertheless it stays to be seen who will fill the management void created by the departure of Peters and Emerson.
The Bulldogs made simply 11 interceptions final season even with Peters and Emerson.
7. Is there sufficient high quality depth at linebacker?
The beginning group seems stable with Tyrus Wheat, Jett Johnson and Nathaniel Watson, however the lack of Aaron Brule to Michigan State leaves principally unproven gamers because the backups.
State is optimistic that younger gamers will show able to dealing with the backup roles, nevertheless it stays to be seen whether or not they really do.
8. Will the kicking recreation be adequate?
It needs to be higher than it was final season, nevertheless it could possibly be higher than final season and nonetheless be the worst within the SEC.
The Bulldogs had been the one SEC staff to make lower than 70% of its field-goal makes an attempt final season (56%, 14-of-25).
Leach has stated he expects the kicking to be a lot improved, nevertheless it’s nonetheless undecided which of two transfers – Massimo Biscardi (Coastal Carolina) and Ben Raybon (Northern Colorado) – would be the kicker or whether or not they may share the job.
9. Can State survive its schedule?
The Bulldogs’ schedule is rated the hardest within the nation by 247Sports. State visits Alabama and hosts Georgia throughout a 3-game stretch in the course of the second half of the season.
Final season’s staff pale by ending 2-3 after a 5-3 begin.
It’s going to take depth and willpower to resist this 12 months’s schedule.
10. Will they lay one other egg within the Egg Bowl?
And as standard, the final recreation is a particular one.
Leach is 0-2 in opposition to Lane Kiffin within the Egg Bowl.
State misplaced to Ole Miss 31-21 final season and 31-24 in 2020. Ole Miss hasn’t gained 3 consecutive Egg Bowls since 2002-2004.
If the Bulldogs can finish their shedding streak within the Egg Bowl in Oxford they may have a cheerful Thanksgiving.
That additionally would make it simpler to swallow any questions that get answered negatively.