STARKVILLE | I’ve given you all those player and coach videos from MSU’s football media day, but now let’s see what the head man himself had to say today.
Head coach Dan Mullen addressed the media in the Leo Seal Complex for close to a half-hour, answering questions about the defense, Tyler Russell, freshmen, offensive line depth, etc. MSU has the full video, which I’ve embedded above. But if you don’t feel like sitting through all of that, I’ve pulled some selected quotes for you.
So, let’s get to it.
• From opening comments: “We’re right in the middle of it, we have five practices in three days. As guys fight through it, you can see that look in their eye that this is about the point they’re getting ready to make that turn away from training camp practice, get more into game mode and get ready to kick this season off.”
• On what percentage Russell will be under center versus in the shotgun this fall: “There’s a lot of different reasons that go into it. One, you look at playbook and what you’re going to use each year – you use about 70 percent of your playbook – and how it adapts to each player that you have. And some of the things we do are better from under center than from the shotgun. If we’re going to incorporate this part of our offense into it with a Tyler Russell, we want to get under center with him, because the play’s a little bit better from under center maybe than from the fun. The overall percentage in the season, there’s never a number to me, I want to be this much under center, this much in the gun. It’s where we execute things.”
• On senior safety Nickoe Whitley: “This is it for him, and you expect big things. He’s a guy who’s been a very solid player throughout his career, but now in his final year you expect a guy to take even that next step, from being a good starter into being a star or an all-conference type of player. And the complete game for him. I know he’s a big hitter. He sets a tone in the secondary back there, but just the complete game in coverage, in playmaking, all of those things, is huge.”
• On offensive line depth: “You want to have eight every single week. As long as you stay healthy, I feel great about the depth, because you’ve got the eight guys ready to go. It’s when injuries start to strike – who’s the ninth? Who’s going from ninth to eighth? If we have two injuries, who’s going from 10th to eighth. That is always the tricky deal for you. I feel pretty comfortable with eight right now, maybe even nine, which is a good thing to have.”
• On how the freshmen are doing in camp: “We’re still waiting and seeing. Right now they’re surviving. Every one of them, the freshmen, kind of look and say, coach, when you told me playing for you was going to be one of the hardest things I’d do in my life – we set a pretty high standard here – they said, I kind of listened, but I don’t know that I totally believed that. Now I 100 percent believe what you say about how hard this is.”