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Taking The Next Step: Mississippi State QB Will Rogers Focused On Continued Improvement At Season's End

Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers continues to focus on growth as the regular season winds down.

Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers is one of the nation's most accomplished signal-callers through the air in his third season with the Bulldogs. 

The junior ranks seventh nationally in total passing yards (3,474) and average passing yards per game (315.82). He's broken countless program records and recently became just the 10th player in Southeastern Conference history to surpass 10,000 career passing yards as he tossed for 301 yards and five touchdowns in the 56-7 rout of ETSU.

But in the midst of a statement year for himself in multiple statistical categories that only builds off of what he accomplished in 2021, Rogers is not getting caught up in the numbers.

If anything, he's more focused on just about everything outside of them.

"I think I'm alright," Rogers said. "I think I have a lot of work to do and that's something that I'll be doing in the offseason. Just kind of taking the next step."

Rogers has made notable strides since he stepped in for the Bulldogs against Alabama back in 2021, particularly in decision-making and release time. Footwork has been a continued point of emphasis and an area Rogers has also noted progression within himself.

"I think I've gotten way better even since my freshman year in terms of just footwork," Rogers said. "It's tough when a pocket collapses and things like that. It's a lot easier to do it when nobody's around you. Live game reps, it gets kind of tough but it's just something I've got to get better at."

Trigger time on routes is something that's important in football in general, but especially in the Air Raid offense. It's a commonality for a lot of quarterbacks who play on this type of offense to put an emphasis on not spending too much time overthinking.

As was the case with offensive coordinator Phil Longo who ran some Air Raid concepts with quarterback Sam Howell at UNC, they want the focus to be on the trigger and on the throw to avoid any tension in the upper body caused by focusing too much on lower body.

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"The thing with us is that everything is just timing," Rogers said.

"So, for a certain play, I'm going to cut my footwork down a little bit on this play so that I can get the ball out quicker, versus another play where it might be full, pure progression, working all the way through the read. So, for me personally, it kind of just depends on the play. But as much quick game as we throw, you never want to be late on anything."

When we spoke with Rogers earlier this year, he had a similar tune and said he had recently spent time working with David Morris of Quarterback Country on footwork, fundamentals and getting more velocity on his throws. 

And looking at the film from this season, those things have popped up and Rogers has expressed confidence as a quarterback who will come out of a type of offense that catches a lot of flack, but may produce some of the nation's sharpest quarterbacks in a host of aspects -- especially where the mental game is concerned.

And perhaps the most important thing about it is that Air Raid concepts are present at all levels of football. Mike Leach has said before that if you were to give some of the coaches who talk down on the Air Raid a marker at a white board and asked them to draw up some of their plays, they'd look at it like it was a rattlesnake.

That's because there's probably a few in there that could be traced back to the offense Hal Mumme founded in Copperas Cove, Texas that has seen several talented quarterbacks come out of it.

"The Air Raid offense has taken a big step. It's definitely in the NFL and a lot more people are doing Air Raid concepts," Rogers said in June.

"I think people kind of bash on the Air Raid when it comes to talking about the next level, but I think if you can throw the ball into into drop eight [coverage] and windows that are that small that you'll be able to do it at any level so that's my take on it."

Rogers will look to continue his growth as a quarterback when the Bulldogs wrap up the regular season in Thursday night's meeting with Ole Miss in Oxford.