Cobb was 9-for-18 passing for 78 yards and ran nine times for 52 yards in the 63-5 loss at Florida last week. Hartline was 7-for-16 passing for 33 yards with one interception.
In SEC play, Hartline is 67-for-133 passing for 565 yards and five touchdowns. For the season, Cobb is 18-for-33 for 214 yards and one score.
Brooks emphasized the change was no knock on Hartline's leadership, and that he intended to play Hartline at State much like he used Cobb in a backup role at Florida.
"Mike has done a good job of leadership and has been a positive guy. Randall is mature beyond his years, too," Brooks said. "The best way for somebody to show leadership is go out and play well and then act like a leader after they have done it.
"Both Mike and Randall have done it. We just think Randall can give us a little spark and a little more diversity in what we can do on offense."
Modifying the strategy
Mississippi State Sylvester Croom didn't know Brooks was changing starting quarterbacks when he was evaluating what problems each quarterback would present to his Bulldogs.
"We just have to prepare for both," Croom said. "At this point, it's about doing what you do. We have to coach our players about what to expect when each quarterback is in there."
Brooks said he told the quarterbacks about his decision before he let the media know at his weekly press conference.
"Mike was disappointed, but I think he will handle it well," Brooks said.
That's not the only change Brooks will make in the offense. He's going with E.J. Adams and Gene McCaskill, a freshman, as the starting receivers. McCaskill had two catches for 22 yards at Florida and Adams had one for 16. On the season, Adams has seven catches for 75 yards and McCaskill eight for 79 yards.
"We are going to start Adams and McCaskill. I at least think those guys have earned the right to get more opportunities," Brooks said.
The coach said they now have to take advantage of their opportunity, something freshmen Aaron Boyd didn't do the last two games when he started but had only one catch.
"Boyd is still having trouble getting off coverage and missing too many assignments," Brooks said. "I can't single in on one guy and base an offense on what Aaron Boyd is doing or not doing.
"We have to find guys who can help us move the football. He has started two games and we have not moved the football. He has not gotten many chances, and one reason he has not is that he has not gotten open."
There will also be special teams changes after the Cats had two punts and a field goal blocked last week and also gave up a long punt return to set up another score.
"We will make a couple of changes. We had guys missed blocks. What can I tell you?" Brooks said. "Florida did some different things, but where they trying to block, they didn't. They blocked in areas on the left and right where we just didn't block a guy. I don't know what to tell you."
Then he noted that a veteran special teams player simply counted defenders and failed to block the right person.
"I guess I have to teach math, too. One, two, three. You block number three," Brooks said.