This week’s game: MSU (2-0) at Troy (1-1), Saturday, 6 p.m., ESPN3.com (no TV)
Dan Mullen held his usual Sunday teleconference today, and I have to thank Matthew Stevens of the Columbus Dispatch for sending me a transcript. Mullen’s Bulldogs are coming off a big 28-10 win over Auburn in the SEC opener, and first let me send some links your way from my coverage of that game.
• Column (on Chad Bumphis and Marcus Green)
Also, the new polls came out today. MSU isn’t in the top 25 yet, but it’s inching closer. It’s the fifth team in the receiving votes category of the AP poll, and third in the coaches poll.
Now, for some excerpts from today’s Mullen chat, starting with his opening statement.
• “Obviously a great way to start off the SEC season to get that win in that first game. After watching there’s some things we have to get cleaned up and improve on. it’s always great to do that after a win though because you have a good feeling coming into it on Sunday. I’m really pleased with how our defense played and I think we only allowed Auburn to cross midfield once in the first three quarters. We only allowed a field goal after a turnover and really pleased with the defense. We were able to play a bunch of different guys and they performed. Offensively, we were a little herky-jerky, and we have to be a little more consistent. What I mean by that is not having so many three-and-outs. Overall a pretty good feeling around here today.”
• On backup right guard Justin Malone: “I think he did OK. There’s some things that he’s got to continue to improve on, but I think he really got some confidence. In his first game, you could tell he was pretty nervous about being out there. He’s got two straight games under his belt, an SEC game under his belt, and I think that is huge for his future and as he moves forward in the development we expect from him.”
• On the offensive play in the first half: “I look at it in terms of three-and-outs. I think our three touchdown drives in the second half was two TD drives, a three-and-out and a touchdown drive. The touchdowns were pretty impressive, but I’d like to get a couple first downs on that bad drive to even play the field position game. The other big one is off of turnovers. Offensively when we created turnovers, we didn’t do a whole lot with them. You have to take advantage of those situations. We have to look at our production off turnovers on both sides of the ball.”
• On life after beating Auburn: “I don’t know if we’re going to sneak up on anybody this year. That’s a good feeling to have. It’s a long season and we have to come back this week. There’s different kinds of adversity – the adversity of facing failure and the adversity of how you handle success. This is a very important week for our guys because we’re in a position to do some great things this week. How do we handle this success by playing a tough team on the road this week.”
• On freshman kicker Devon Bell‘s two missed field goals: “It was a low kick on the block. When I watch the film on Devon, his PAT kicks were fantastic with great height and explosion on them. The field goals simply weren’t. That’s just something I have to work with him on in practice. It’s not like the PATs or kickoffs were shaky so as a freshman, we’ll get it figured out for him. That’s our job for him. I want to see how practice goes this week. Devon had a really good week of practice. That’s something we’ll continue to look at.”