The first SEC coaches teleconference was held this morning, and we just got finished with Dan Mullen. It was our last chance this week to ask him questions, although I suppose I could go undercover as a guy named Harlan Q. Poindexter from Amory and call his radio show tomorrow night with questions. Yeah, maybe not.
Let's bullet-point this baby.
• On improving the run defense, which ranked seventh in the SEC last year (153.5 ypg): "Part of it is with those guys we have some young guys, some talented defensive linemen but a lot of youth at that position. They're going to have to come up and make some plays early on. The fact that we have a little bit more experience at linebacker right now is certainly going to help with that front seven of us being able to stop the run."
• On new wide receiver coach Tim Brewster getting acclimated quickly to his new job with the opener approaching: "You've got a guy that has as much experience as he has and the professional that he is. He's in here picking it up. He knows the game of football and knows what he's doing as a coach. There's still always going to be a little bit of the language barrier. He's constantly working through of how we're calling things. But the fact that we have an experienced group at receiver as well is certainly going to make the whole situation a little bit easier and a pretty easy transition on game day."
(If you missed it last night, Brewster said he expects to be coaching from the field, versus the booth. "I think my temperament is much more suited to being on the field as opposed to being in a cerebral environment in the press box. I like the activity on the boundary," Brewster said.)
• On Jackson State's experience vs. MSU's: "We have some good senior leadership, but we're a very young team. When you look at the experience aspect of things, their kids have played in a lot of games, know the situation they're coming into, are up for the challenge, and are expecting to have a huge year. That always makes it challenging, this first game, there will be a lot of nervous jitters from guys who haven't played before. The faster we get through all that and execute cleanly, the better we'll be. But I think their guys will have a lot less of that."
• On Jackson State's new starting QB, Dedric McDonald, who threw nine passes last season and is replacing the very prolific Ryan Therriault: "They had a great quarterback last year, but all the weapons that are around him, the experience around him, especially the O-line giving him time, those are things that are going to allow that quarterback to develop. … I don't think that's going to be as big a drop-off maybe as people think it will be from their guy that was obviously a great player last year."