Mississippi State still debating on starting QB for season opener

Published 7:52 pm Monday, August 29, 2016

Sun Herald

With less than five days until game one of 2016, the quarterback battle at Mississippi State still rages on.

Mullen started fall camp this summer with four quarterbacks vying for the opportunity to replace legendary quarterback Dak Prescott, but that has since been narrowed down.

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Sophomore Elijah Staley announced earlier in the month that he would transfer and has taken the route of junior college in Tyler, Texas. On Monday, Mullen narrowed the potential starter for game one against South Alabama down to two.

Though he admitted that Nick Fitzgerald and Damian Williams are the two competing for the start, he wasn’t ready to tip his hand.

“I see Nick Williams playing quarterback for us,” Mullen joked. “I’m waiting for the clarity for us. We’re going to play more than one quarterback and we’re probably going to play more than one in the first quarter.”

Fitzgerald has been considered the favorite to replace Prescott this season but Williams has made a move during the summer and redshirting last year. The sophomore Fitzgerald cut his teeth last season and was sharp in limited time.

Fitzgerald went 11-for-14 passing for 235 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions last season. He also showed his running ability with 137 yards on 23 carries and three more scores.

Williams played right away as a true freshman backing up Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott in 2013 and was forced into duty late in the year, leading the Bulldogs to a win on the road at Arkansas with a 25-yard rushing touchdown. He also was the starter in the 2013 Egg Bowl, a game that the Bulldogs won in the fourth quarter when Prescott came in late.

“Both of those guys have been thrust into tough situations and they’ve performed well in those situations,” Mullen said. “I want to give those guys an opportunity and see how they perform.

“Nick Tiano has a bright future but still needs a little more time. Fitz graduated early and had that extra spring on top of it to get ready so (Fitz and Damian) put themselves in position to be ready on week one.”

Mullen said that the two quarterbacks will continue to be monitored this week in practice and both will rotate between the ones and the twos.