Dan Mullen answered questions at his press conference today, reviewing last week’s 38-13 loss to Texas A&M and looking ahead to this week’s game at No. 9 LSU. He was asked a lot about the offensive and defensive struggles, and some of his answers were … interesting.
Here are the highlights.
In the two losses you did some good things in the second half, were there some adjustments?
“We did some good things at halftime. But obviously not enough to bring us back to win the game. So I think we did a nice job making a tweak or two that put us in a position to be successful, but not enough to win the game.”
The last two weeks have started slow, is there any specific way to address that?
“More consistent execution of plays, really is what it comes down to on both sides of the ball. We have to execute cleaner on both sides of the ball. We made some plays, you look in the first half. But there always seems to be mistakes that jump up, and that’s what slows you down.”
Why so tough to play at LSU at night?
“There’s so many tough environments in the league. I think it becomes a mindset on their players more difficult than a lot of stadiums. It’s as loud as anywhere that you’re going to go play but it’s the mindset and the confidence that their fans exude on the players that make it tough to go play there.”
Why can’t the defensive line get more pressure?
“Probably (because we lost) the best D-lineman in the country. That’s an easy one right there. Any time you do that, you always have to adjust in your personnel. Fletcher (Cox) if you look at the draft last year he was one of the top d linemen in the whole country. You take that guy out – we don’t just kind of reload those type of guys constantly. He was a special player for us. BUT. Overall I think we’ve played well.”
Is the amount of pressures and sacks a concern for you?
(Mullen shakes his head no) “Nope. You can look at those things. Some of them are (Tyler Russell) holding on to the ball too long. Some of them are holding onto the ball as long as the route is needed to develop. I look at the sacks. … What are our sacks in SEC play? Eight sacks in nine games? I guess that’s not that big of a concern.”
What about fourth down call where Tyler says he didn’t have enough time?
“Well yeah – we had five protectors and they brought seven guys. So yeah, you gotta get rid of it quick when you don’t have enough guys to block their guys coming.”
Did you think there would be more explosive plays?
(Shrugs his shoulders) “We’ve hit it a couple of times but no. I know what our guys are and who our guys are. They’re the same guys that have been playing for us for a couple of years. That is what it is. The nice thing is we’ve made a bunch of those plays this season.”
You remind the guys they can still do some big things?
“Absolutely, the team we’re playing has the identical record as us this week. That’s how we view things. Two 7-2 teams. We’re in the minority of the 124 teams that are 7-2 or better this season.”