[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGD_QwW1qO8[/youtube]STARKVILLE – Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen gave his players a day away from the practice fields on Monday holding only a weight lifting session.
Tuesday the Bulldogs were back on the grind beginning preparations for LSU on Oct. 5 during their bye week. MSU is 2-2 on the year with two blowout wins over Alcorn State and Troy and a pair of tough losses against Oklahoma State and Auburn.
This week Mullen plans to work out some of the kinks his team has ran across during the first quarter of the schedule.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ve got to obviously get a lot better,” Mullen said. “We’ve improved every single week from game to game so far so we need to continue to do that to have a successful season.”
Most of the focus is still on the Bulldogs offense. Mullen mentioned that third down conversions, pass protection, route running and pass catching would be a point of emphasis this week.
Mullen indicated that senior Tyler Russell is still in his plans to start the LSU game in two weeks. Russell has not played or seen contact since suffering a concussion in week 1 against Oklahoma State.
“That’s still the plan,” Mullen said.
Defensively he hopes to generate more of a pass rush with the defensive line. State has generated five sacks in four games but only two from the defensive line – Curtis Virges and A.J. Jefferson.
The Bulldogs have played 13 freshmen on defense so far this season and have relied heavily upon young players in the secondary due to injuries. Jay Hughes, Nickoe Whitley, Taveze Calhoun, Jamerson Love and Dee Arrington have all missed time after being hurt with Hughes lost for the season after week 1.
Mississippi State has turned to underclassmen Kendrick Market, Cedric Jiles, Tolando Cleveland, Quadry Antione, Deontay Evans and Kivon Coman to help fill in.
“When you turn on the film you’re going to see a lot of young guys,” Mullen said. “But you’ve got to be 30 deep on defense if you want to be really good in this league or at least 22 deep. If you get two and half (players) at every position you’re in good shape. We’ve got to play guys to survive in the SEC so that gives a lot of guys opportunities to get on the field.”