Monday with Mullen

[youtube][/youtube]Mississippi State practiced three times during their bye week before head coach Dan Mullen allowed his team to go home for the weekend following Thursday’s practice.

The Bulldogs will return to work Monday afternoon following a three-day vacation away from the gridiron.

The extra time off allowed a few of MSU’s wounded to heal up. Mullen expected sophomore cornerback Taveze Calhoun to return from an ankle sprain that kept him out of the Troy games. Senior quarterback Tyler Russell and junior linebacker Ferlando Bohanna are both bouncing back from concussions.

Bohanna has not played at all this season after making 26 tackles and recovering two fumbles a year ago.

“He did a lot but didn’t do contact last week,” Mullen said. “It’s been about two to three weeks since he’s had a symptom so he’ll do some contact today and should be cleared and good to go.”

Russell has been out since the second half against Oklahoma State. He was cleared to play on Sept. 19, two days prior to the Troy game, but was held out of action.

Mullen stated following that contest that Russell remained starting signal caller despite Dak Prescott’s impressive showings during his absence. With 18 starts and 32 games of experience, Mullen has no reservations about sending Russell out against LSU on Saturday.

“It’s one thing if he’d only played a couple of games but he’s been here for a while,” Mullen said. “He’s played a lot of football and been in some big games.”

Russell has played in three previous games against the Tigers. Last year in Baton Rouge, Russell connected on 26 of 38 passing for 295 yards, one touchdown and an interception in a 37-17 loss.

Mullen reiterated that both Russell and Prescott would split snaps in practice this week and would be evaluated daily.

Another position Mullen, who also serves as special teams coordinator, plans to keep an eye on is at kicker. Sophomore Devon Bell has converted just three of his six attempts on the year missing all three kicks in the 30 to 39 yard range. Redshirt freshman Evan Sobiesk made his only career attempt from 24-yards out.

Since the Bulldogs had the weekend off, Mullen was able to watch the LSU-Georgia game live on television and came away impressed with the offensive firepower the Tigers possess.

LSU rolled up 449 yards of offense in the 44-41 loss between the hedges including 372 yards through the air by senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

“Looking at the explosiveness of LSU’s offense, we’re going to have to score some points,” Mullen said. “To do that we’re going to have to execute at a very high level and make a lot of plays against a talented defense.”

Even with the success the Tigers have enjoyed throwing the ball this season, LSU still relies on a steady dose of power running as well. The Tigers are averaging 192.2 yards per game on the ground with sophomore Jeremy Hill leading the charge with 450 yards and seven touchdowns on 62 carries.

“It’s a challenge because they are a very balanced team,” Mullen said. “They love to run the ball but the balance in their passing game is what makes the preparation difficult.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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