Before we get to Dan Mullen‘s press conference highlights, a couple of notes:
• MSU’s home game against Middle Tennessee State on Oct. 20 will kick off at 6 p.m. It will be televised on ESPN2, ESPNU or Fox Sports Net.
• For a good wrap-up of Tennessee coach Derek Dooley‘s Monday presser, check out Evan Woodbery‘s blog.
OK, now let’s hit some high points of Mullen’s chat. His No. 19 Bulldogs (5-0, 2-0 SEC) host Tennessee (3-2, 0-2) this weekend (8 p.m., ESPN2).
• On Tennessee’s offense: “When you look at Tennessee the first thing that jumps out to you is the explosiveness of their offense. They have NFL-type players at every position. Their receivers, their quarterback, talented running backs, and an experienced offensive line. They can put up a lot of points and they have put up a lot of points a bunch of points.”
• On his defense matching up with Tennessee’s offense: “I think they’re the two best receivers we’ve played so far this year. On top of that the best quarterback we’ve played so far this year. So that combination is certainly going to be a challenge for our secondary. And it should be fun.”
• Injury report: “Both (tight end) Malcolm Johnson and (defensive lineman) Devin Jones are probable for this week’s game, we expect them to play. (Cornerback) Cedric Jiles will still be out with a hand. I think that’s the extent of the injury report and guys playing and not playing in this week’s game.”
• On how QB Tyler Russell stacks up against other top SEC quarterbacks: “He might not put up the massive numbers that other people put up but the most important record he has going for himself right now, which stacks up pretty good, is 5-0. He’s doing what we need to do to win football games. I think that stacks up pretty good for him.”
• On whether Russell deserves more attention: “Not yet. Not yet. We’ll see. Let’s win some more games, and maybe then. It’s still so early in the season. I don’t know if anybody — if we deserve a lot of attention yet.”
• On getting good pressure against Kentucky with little blitzing: “The challenge is this is a team that leads the league in least number of sacks given up. It’s certainly a challenge for us to get pressure on them this week, but when you get pressure with your down guys, that’s a real positive. Again, you look at a Denico Autry, who’s got talent, is really now starting to get used to what SEC games are about, and that transition of what the speed is on the field.”