Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    TaleofTwoDogs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Good read on Fitz and Moorhead

    I'm all for taking shots down field but I hope CJM doesn't hang his hat on big strike plays unless Fitz and the new receivers can get on the same page.

    STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) If Mississippi State?s Nick Fitzgerald is going to have a storybook ending to his college career, first-year coach Joe Moorhead has to get off to a fantastic start.

    The Bulldogs are a popular pick to contend for the Southeastern Conference championship after finishing with a 9-4 record last season, and a glance at the roster reveals plenty of reasons why.

    Fitzgerald is among the SEC's top returning quarterbacks and he should have plenty of help from a deep roster that includes veterans like running back Aeris Williams and defensive linemen Montez Sweat and Jeffery Simmons.

    Now new-guy Moorhead the former Penn State offensive coordinator who takes over for Dan Mullen is trying to build the relationships necessary to take advantage of that talent.

    His rapport with Fitzgerald is at the top of the list.

    You view the quarterback as an extension of yourself on the field, Moorhead said. You hear about the term, He's a coach on the field, and that's what we need the quarterback to be.

    The 44-year-old Moorhead has developed a reputation for building high-scoring offenses. He played quarterback at Fordham and later led his alma mater to four successful seasons at the FCS level before becoming a rising star in the coaching world at Penn State, where he built a potent attack around quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley.

    McSorley who threw for more than 7,000 yards and 50 touchdowns over two years with Moorhead said intelligence is a must when running an offense designed by JoeMo.

    Understanding the nuances of what he's trying to get done and how he's trying to attack defenses, McSorley said. And then details, being extremely detail-oriented, knowing the offense and your footwork and every little thing that goes into it.

    Moorhead's offense will probably look a little different with Fitzgerald, who is one of college football's most unusual quarterbacks. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound senior has run for nearly 2,400 yards over the past two seasons while putting up decent passing numbers.

    But Fitzgerald's future as an elite runner was cast into doubt at the end of last year, when he suffered a gruesome dislocated right ankle in the Egg Bowl. He spent most of the offseason recovering and says he's now fully healthy and ready to do anything that's needed on the field.

    Even so, he acknowledged his role might change this year.

    I don't think I have to go out there and run for 1,000 yards, Fitzgerald said. Obviously, I would love to. I just don't think that?s going to be exactly our philosophy. It's not going to be what our offense is built around the QB running the ball over the place. I definitely will still get plenty of touches.

    One of Moorhead's former quarterbacks at Fordham, Mike Nebrich, said Moorhead's genius lies in his ability to adapt to the talent he's given. Whatever Fitzgerald can do, Moorhead will find the best way to do it.

    He's not one of those guys who says, This is the package we're running, we have to evolve to what I want to do," Nebrich said. "He goes in and says, OK, here are the players I have, here are the strengths of my offense, now let me adapt to them."

    Fitzgerald and Moorhead have been able to bond over several things, including their paths from relative obscurity to the SEC. Fitzgerald was not a highly recruited prospect before landing at Mississippi State while Moorhead was pretty much unknown until his time at Penn State.

    Fitzgerald said Moorhead's everyman personality is easy to like.

    ?He seems like the kind of guy who can connect to anyone, it doesn't matter where you?re from, Fitzgerald said. ?He just has that quality about him. He's very straightforward, very confident and has his own little swagger.

    Likewise, Moorhead appreciates Fitzgerald?s demeanor.

    ?He?s an interesting cat, Moorhead said. He's ultra-competitive, he?s got a great sense of humor, he cares a lot about the team and cares a lot about his performance. He?s hungry to improve.

    It remains to be seen if the relationship leads to wins on the field.

    One reason Moorhead's hire was met with such optimism at Mississippi State was because his offense seemed similar to Mullen's. Fitzgerald said that after spending several months immersed in the system, that?s only partially true.

    We want to take shots and get big chunk plays, Fitzgerald said. We're not really trying to have 10- or 14-play drives. So it?s a little different philosophy than what we're used to. We're going to take shots downfield. The reads are very reasonable. They're a little more natural to me. It's a good scheme I'm excited to run it.


    Follow David Brandt on Twitter: .
    Last edited by TaleofTwoDogs; 08-12-2018 at 07:48 PM.

    5 out of 5 sixpackers like this post
    17n Piece of Shit | Rob Skelton Yes | No

  2. #2
    Thanks for sharing here.

    17n Piece of Shit | Rob Skelton Yes | No

  3. #3
    I agree with not wanting to force it. I am excited that we will likely try it more often.

    17n Piece of Shit | Rob Skelton Yes | No

  4. #4

    Iím as wooly as anyone

    but I am a fan of the 14 play drives to shorten tight games especially on the road....that is what KILLED PSU last year against Ohio State ..PSU was gassed and allowed 3 fourth quarter TDS ....

    0 out of 1 sixpackers like this post
    17n Piece of Shit | Rob Skelton Yes | No

  5. #5
    This worries me a little, too. I'm a big fan of Moorhead, and cannot wait to see his offense in action. But, in the past, I have felt the hurry up offense winds up putting too much pressure on our own defense. A quick 3-and-out that takes less than 30 seconds off the clock is no way to get your defense a break.

    OTOH, I agree with Moorhead's philosophy that you cannot count on consistently maintaining long drives. And I like going hurry-up when you convert on 3rd down, so that the defense cannot change their personnel. I hope Moorhead is able to find a good balance.

    Regardless, I think our defense is going to wind up giving up a lot of points this season. Its not just that I don't trust our DBs....if your offense is determined to turn games into a track meet, then the other offense will usually try answer the challenge. I don't think we will see a bunch of Big 12 type games, but if we are scoring 35+ per game then I think the other teams will score a bit, too.

    17n Piece of Shit | Rob Skelton Yes | No

  6. #6
    As much as I dislike him, I like Gus Malzahn's approach to the hurry up offense. Run your offense at a normal pace until you get a 1st down, then start with the hurry up. If you go 3 and out, at least your defense gets a bit of a breather.

    17n Piece of Shit | Rob Skelton Yes | No

  7. #7
    Yeah, itís interesting that there are several comments in there about Moorheadís ability to adapt to his personnel, yet in the same breath, it talks about a quick strike offense. Iím not sure our pass protection, receiving corp, or our QBís arm are really built for heaving the ball downfield

    17n Piece of Shit | Rob Skelton Yes | No

  8. #8
    He has also said that the first objective is to establish the running game and forcing the defense to stack the box, and THAT allows you to take advantage of one-on-oneís.

    We are going to take some shots, but we arenít going to suddenly shy away from pounding it in the running game.

    17n Piece of Shit | Rob Skelton Yes | No

  9. #9
    that's been my one thing. i'm hoping to see us pound the rock and be physical with our personnel. i'm all for big shots down the field, but don't take yourself out of your game and the game just throwing it down the field all the time. Wear people out with the talent we have to run the ball with rb's, slot guys, and our qb's. So many times last year we killed drives by coming out and throwing it down the field to a receiver who wasn't open or couldn't catch. I've seen Nick get better at passing every year, but is he going to be able to chunk it down field several times a game and be accurate enough and our receivers be accurate enough to work like it should. I fully expect and home to see a bunch of rpo that works best into our skill sets. hopefully not dropping back and chunking way down a bunch unless they prove that they can be accurate, open, and catch it.

    17n Piece of Shit | Rob Skelton Yes | No

  10. #10
    I don't think Moorhead will just chunk the ball downfield, unless the safeties are cheating up to stop the run and he knows he can get 1 on 1 coverage. At that point, Fitz just has to throw a 50/50 ball for the receiver, which I suspect he can learn to do.

    That said, though, I wonder just how automatic those deep ball reads are? I mean, if I was game planning State early in the season, I would cheat the safeties up and try to trigger the deep ball and just dare Fitz to throw it. Until he completes a couple, I wouldn't consider it a legit threat. I don't know what JoMo goes to when his QB and receivers aren't connecting.

    17n Piece of Shit | Rob Skelton Yes | No

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
SixPack Sponsors

Disclaimer: Neither this message board nor its rules and regulations are associated with Mississippi State University or any other Mississippi State sports website. Neither this message board nor its rules and regulations are associated with Scottish & Newcastle PLC d/b/a Bulldog Strong Ale. The views and opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the post author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by The interactive nature of the Discussion Forums makes it impossible for to assume responsibility for any of the content, including photographs and/or images, posted by participants. The ideas, suggestions, thoughts, recommendations, opinions, comments, advice, and observations made by participants of the interactive Discussion Forums are not endorsed by

Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties