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If Ballard is comparable in usage to James, quarterback Chris Relf is similar to Darron Thomas as...

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If Ballard is comparable in usage to James, quarterback Chris Relf is similar to Darron Thomas as well. He produces both through the air and on the ground, but Mullen and staff don't trust Relf quite as much as Chip Kelly and company trust Thomas. They attempt to protect Relf as much as possible, throwing quite a bit on standard downs but keeping things on the ground and close to the vest on passing downs. As a result, you see a pretty good passing line -- 397 yards, 7.4 per pass, 61% completion rate, 3 TD, 1 INT in two games -- that probably gives a misleading view of the passing game's actual quality. Relf will get his numbers, but they won't necessarily come against good defenses. In this sense, Mississippi State's is sort of a Dinosaur Jr. offense: good at what they're good at (be it running the ball or unleashing killer J Mascis guitar solos), but pretty limited elsewhere (passing when they have to pass, writing intelligible lyrics). They can go from gorgeous to iffy in a heartbeat, but when they're good, they're phenomenal.

From my LSU-Mississippi State preview at the mothership.
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