There was plenty for Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen to discuss Monday afternoon during his weekly press conference.
Mullen’s Bulldogs suffered a 21-3 setback to Oklahoma State in the season opener on Saturday and saw several key starters leave the game due to injury.
The most prominent of those injuries came in the third quarter when fifth-year senior quarterback Tyler Russell suffered a blow to the head on a scramble. After lying on the turf at Reliant Stadium in Houston for several minutes, Russell was taken to the locker room and did not return.
Mullen stated Monday that Russell would be doubtful for MSU’s home opener against Alcorn State this weekend.
“We’ll see at the end of the week,” Mullen said. “It was just a concussion from that game. We don’t expect him to practice this week. He might be cleared for the game and then we’ll make a decision if he is cleared for the game to play.”
Russell will join junior linebacker Ferlando Bohanna for concussion tests throughout the week, and their availability for Saturday would be determined on the outcome of those tests. Bohanna, who was ailing with a concussion last week, made the trip to Houston but did not see action.
Mullen expects sophomore quarterback Dak Prescott to earn his first career start against Alcorn State and will increase reps for true freshman Damian Williams in practice this week.
Another blow to MSU’s starting cast was to junior safety Jay Hughes. Hughes went down with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon in the first quarter. He will undergo season-ending surgery.
“It’s a huge loss for us,” Mullen said. “Not because he’s a great player but because he’s one of the top leaders on our team and to me is a face-of-the-program type of guy. If there’s somebody you want to put up that really is what our program is all about it’s Jay Hughes, so that’s a huge loss for us.”
Hughes made one tackle and broke up a pass before suffering the injury during his fourth career start. He is the son of MSU safeties coach Tony Hughes.
Mullen also listed sophomore offensive guard Justin Malone as doubtful and junior cornerback Jamerson Love as questionable for this weekend against the Braves.
Sophomore defensive tackles Quay Evans and Nick James were absent from the travel roster in week one. Mullen stated Monday that neither player missed the game due to injury.
“We’ve just got to make sure they are ready to go play,” Mullen said. “Nick has a possibility of redshirting this year for us. Quay had a really good week of practice last week. I met with him yesterday about it, and he’s on the right path. The key is for him to stay on the right path to get him out there on the field and play with what our expectations levels for him to play are.”
The Bulldogs will begin preparations for Alcorn State this afternoon.