The Russell Era Begins

Sign made by students at Meridian High on the day Tyler signed for MSU

Anticipation is high. And the excitement is growing. The highest rated QB that MSU has signed in years (maybe ever) is finally on the Depth Chart this Spring. Russell has worked very hard in the offseason to learn the offense and get his body prepared for the potential beating it could take against SEC foes. He’s grown an inch taller from this time last year and put on about 15 lbs. of muscle. Also, being redshirted last season gave him a chance to get used to the game atmosphere and observe game situations. Chris Relf and Tyler Russell are battling it out this Spring in a healthy competition to play QB in the Fall. Relf is the better runner. Russell is the better passer. “All eyes (so far) are focused on Russell” this Spring. In the first week of Spring practice, we’ve finally been able to see Russell in action and hear him talk in interviews. Hopefully, he can stay healthy and play a huge role for the offense in the Fall. I think that if Russell plays to his potential, with the help of Coach Mullen, he can become a Heisman candidate in the future. There are not many recruits to have entered at MSU with the kind of expectations that Tyler has created. MSU fans, however, are very leery of getting too excited. Our past is full of premature excitement that has ended in disappointment. So I don’t think any of us are expecting to go to the SEC championship this season or see Tyler Russell as the MVP of the SEC this year. We just want to see another step of improvement in the offense with a pure QB that has all the tools playing in that position. Last year the offense was as exciting as it’s been in 10 years. The main thing that was lacking last season was consistency at the QB position. Hopefully, Tyler will be able to add another dimension to the offense by further stretching the defense with his arm. And with the one, two punch of Russell and Relf, defenses should have to spend a lot of extra time in preparation for what our offense will be capable of doing. I know we lost Anthony Dixon, but with the entire Offensive Line returning, I feel we shouldn’t miss too much in the running game either.

Chris Relf and Tyler Russell

Russell on being the scout QB last season: “Basically all your doing is throwing pretty much all the same routes,” Russell said. “The more I threw, the better I became. It takes the nervousness when you know if you mess up coach isn’t really going to get you.”
Russell on expectations: “Coming out of high school I had people telling me ‘you gotta do this, we never had a great quarterback’ stuff like that but now it’s just about not worrying about what everybody else does,” Russell said.
Russell on his approach this Spring: “Just doing what I know I can do. I’m surrounded with a good team and great coaches.”

SDN’s story on the QB battle this Spring.

Aside from football, Tyler is one of the most mature young men I’ve been around. Regardless of the score at the end of the day, I’m sure he’ll act with class and make us proud. Whether you’re a MSU fan or just a citizen of Meridian and/or Mississippi, Tyler Russell is someone I think we’ll all be pulling for.

Tyler Russell

God’s Plan for Sharing

The North American Mission Board (NAMB) has unleashed a plan for churches to reach people in their communities during this Easter Season. It’s called GPS (God’s Plan for Sharing). It’s what every church should already be doing. But it’s good for churches to receive regular encouragement in order to stay at task. And it’s good for churches to work together in a concerted effort. This plan focuses on praying, equipping, sowing, and harvesting. Here’s what we’re hoping to see in our churches.

PRAYER-Every church praying for lost people.
*Preparing God’s people to faithfully pray
*Prayerwalking your community
*Continually discovering lost people to pray for
*Experiencing genuine changes in your church as it reaches lost people
*Every church praying for North American missionaries to reach lost people
EQUIPPING-Every believer sharing as a trained witness.
*Trained Christ-followers effectively sharing the gospel as they go
*Starting small groups to intentionally share the gospel to lost people
*Starting new churches
*Believers living with a passion for lost people that comes out of the overflow out of an intimate walk with God
SOWING-Every lost person receiving a witness.
*Believers joining hands to take the gospel to every home in their communities
*Lost people hearing a complete presentation of the gospel multiple times
*Communities transformed as churches are involved in servant evangelism activities
HARVESTING-Every church celebrating and following up on every salvation response
*Millions of people receiving Christ as Savior and Lord
*Record numbers of baptisms in churches
*Families and communities transformed
*New groups and churches started
*Churches revitalized
Just imagine what would happen if the Church in America experience God move in a mighty way this Easter. May God’s Spirit move among us. It’s time for the church to learn how to love our communities the way Christ does. We have to get in the vineyard and get to work.

100 Days till the World Cup

I can’t wait to get to South Africa. Today begins the final preparations for our national team. We play Holland in Amsterdam today. Hopefully, we’ll get a better look at what our team will look like. With injuries to Charlie Davies, Oguchi Onyewu, and Clint Dempsey, others are getting a shot at making the team. Hopefully all three can make a comeback to get on the World Cup squad. Earlier this week new uniforms were introduced. They have the look of the uniforms from the 1950 World Cup where the US beat England 1-0.

New Blue away jersey

I’m sure we’ll get to see this jersey today. There’s also a white home jersey and another red away jersey.

Home White Jersey

Red Away Jersey

We really need to make these games count. Today vs. the Netherlands in Amsterdam. May 25th vs. Czech Republic in Connecticut. And May 29th vs. Turkey in Philadelphia.

“You only get so many opportunities like this,” US left midfielder Landon Donovan said. “You don’t want to go into a World Cup not having had recent experiences against top teams along the way. …… Having this opportunity is really big, and we hope that it helps build confidence and that it gets us prepared for our first game [against England].”

I have to admit that I really am beginning to like the new jerseys. Check out how they’ll look with the whole kit. Clint Dempsey, who is injured and will not play against the Netherlands on Wednesday, modeled the new U.S. away uniform last week in London.

Dempsey in the new uniform

A friend (Beau Thompson) and I are traveling to South Africa. This will be our 2nd World Cup to attend. In the past we’ve called ourselves the FuBoys (referring to the Kung Fu style of soccer the Koreans played with us while at Southwestern Seminary). Greg Boles (Viking Elvis) and Chad Bishop (FlagMan) will be dearly missed as well as others that have made pilgrimages along the way (Brian “Biscuit” Pullin and James “Gorley”). Also we’ve been known as the FuMen of the Apocalypse.

K town

Beau, Chad, Greg, & Me in Germany (2006)

But with major members of the clan not being able to make the trip, we’re looking for a new name. Here’s the one that’s beginning to grow on us. “The Boys of ’76”

The Boys of '76

The name comes from a book (link to photocopy of the book) written by Charles C. Coffin in 1876 about the history of the battles of the Revolutionary War. I can’t think of a better way to enter the first game of the World Cup playing England than with a bunch of Americans calling themselves “The Boys of ’76.”

The Flag We Might Fly