How important will Jaden Johnson be for MSU’s offense?
WW: The redshirt-freshman will be the centerpiece of Missouri State’s rebuild. Petrino’s offense is all about the quarterback and Johnson will get the first crack at being under center for the new coach’s Bears.
Johnson will be everything for an offense that is skilled at the wide receiver position. Previous quarterbacks haven’t been able to take advantage of it, but Johnson has already shown in the preseason that he has arm strength and accuracy that MSU hasn’t had in a long time.
In his first career start against one of the top programs in the country, I’m not expecting Johnson to light it up. But he could develop into one of the better quarterbacks in the Missouri Valley Football Conference for years to come.
Who are some of the defensive leaders to watch on Saturday night?
WW: Defensive end Isaiah Sayles is a player Missouri State is high on while describing him as someone who can be an elite pass rusher at the FCS level. I don’t know how much we’ll see that Saturday against one of the better offensive lines in college football.
Aside from Sayles, I’ve been impressed with freshman Mikey Miles this offseason, who was a late-addition over the summer. He’s listed as an outside linebacker, but he’s played more of a safety-linebacker hybrid. He has a big body and has shown to be a pretty good tackler.