A meeting with Joe Moorhead would prove the move that Tommy Stevens, a senior quarterback from Indianapolis, Indiana, made from State College, Pennsylvania to Mississippi State University, was the right one.
“He (Head coach Joe Moorhead) just told me I was basically going to be the starting quarterback,” Stevens said.
A transfer student from Pennsylvania State University, where Joe Moorhead served as offensive coordinator before taking the job at MSU, Stevens stepped into a system that he is both familiar, and has experience with.
In that meeting with Moorhead, Stevens said he was asked about how he felt about his performance in camp. He responded to Moorhead, saying he felt comfortable and played at a level higher than he has ever played before. Moorhead said the familiarity made the transition easier for Stevens.
“When you’re a quarterback essentially in year four, if you want to call it that, you can hit the ground running,” Moorhead said. “(You don’t) have to go somewhere and learn something completely new.”
Stevens beat out Keytaon Thompson, junior quarterback from New Orleans, for the starting position, and will wear the number seven formerly worn by Nick Fitzgerald.
Not only did Stevens win the starting job, he also won over the locker room, as he was selected a captain by the team. That vote of confidence is something that Stevens said he could find pride in.
“It is a credit to my teammates to being able to have faith in someone that is new around here,” Stevens said. “I never really tried to be the guy that is all rah-rah and speaks too much. Especially being the new guy. I just tried to work and speak in given moments.”
This week is the first time Stevens will have to prepare for the starter role. Stevens was a backup quarterback at PSU, but he said he has always taken pride in how he prepares and is ready to lead the team Saturday against the University of Louisiana-Lafayette
With the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans as the first game’s setting, Stevens said he is excited for the opportunity to play there, but at the end of the day it is just football. Kickoff is 11 a.m. which is a different routine than a night game, but Stevens said it should not affect anything.
“We are waking up, eating a pre-game meal and going,” Stevens said. “There is going to be a lot of emotions, but I just have to continue to remind myself it is obviously what I wanted for a very long time. It is football. I am excited for the opportunity.”