Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen made his weekly appearance on the SEC coaches’ teleconference today.
The Bulldogs have a bye this week as they prepare to take on Kentucky on Oct. 24.
Here is a transcript of his time on the call…
Mullen: “We’re working right now. It’s kind of a pseudo open date for us this week because we’ve got a game coming up on a Thursday night. It’s our opportunity to get a couple of things cleaned up and a couple of extra days to get prepared for Kentucky and also get a lot of guys healed up. I think we were out as many as six starters in the last game. Hopefully we’ll get some guys back for this week and healed up, healthy and ready to go.”
Is it an advantage to have so many junior college programs in the state of Mississippi as it pertains to recruiting?
Mullen: “I think it’s an advantage just because players can come visit our campus from junior colleges without having to travel real far in the state. That’s probably the biggest one is the proximity. Also when we go recruit them, we can easily get to those junior colleges to evaluate. I guess a lot of schools in the SEC can get here very easily so I don’t know if it gives us a huge advantage over SEC schools but it certainly helps having those schools here and accessible to us.”
Where would you say your team is with this break from a momentum standpoint?
Mullen: “We’re doing pretty good. Obviously we’d like to have a better record than where we are right now. But if you look at things that have gone on for us this season, I think the combined record for our opponents is 28-10 so far this year. So I think we’ve had one of the hardest schedules in the country to this point.
“But our guys have had success. We’ve played pretty well. Against LSU, they pulled away in the fourth quarter. We had an opportunity to take the lead going into the fourth quarter and don’t score on a missed field goal. We’ve been right there with everybody even though we’ve played a tough schedule and our guys have improved from week to week. I think our guys see that. They can find things they’ve improved on from one week to the next and that always helps you build as you move forward and continue to grow throughout the year.”
Are there areas you’re looking to address with the open time that you’ve got?
Mullen: “There’s always little things that you want to improve on. You want to look at improving third down offense and defense. Two-minute (defense) is another one. We’ve given up some scores right before the half on the defensive side of the ball and that really crushes you in the momentum of the game. It’s hurt us a couple of different times. Those are things that we look at when we have a little extra time and can practice some of those situations that you don’t always get during a regular week.”