Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen made his weekly appearance on the SEC coaches’ teleconference.
Mullen spent just over four minutes talking about the Bulldogs upcoming game at South Carolina on Saturday.
Here is a transcript of the call…
Mullen: “We’re excited about this game. I know our guys are. Obviously it’s tough to go on the road but I think one of the things our guys love is the opportunity to play the best teams in the country week-in and week-out. South Carolina is obviously one of those top national teams not only this year but over the last two to three years they’ve been that top caliber team. Coach (Steve) Spurrier’s done a great job building that program up to this point. They are a title contender every single year. It’s a great challenge for us and it should be a great atmosphere as it always is playing in the SEC.”
With a rough November coming up against three straight ranked opponents, do you see a sense of urgency more from your players?
Mullen: “Our first seven opponents are 38-18 right now and some of them are ranked too. I don’t know that this month is any different than the rest of the season when I was looking at that stat the other day. There’s a sense of urgency every single game that we play here when you’re playing that type of schedule. It’s kind of always that way. I don’t know if this is any different than where we’ve been in the first half of the season but I know our guys love that challenge of playing the best teams.”
The last couple of games you’ve had some deficiencies in the fourth quarter. What have you done in practice the last couple of weeks -especially during the bye – to help that and key in on?
Mullen: “The focus is what we’ve looked at within those things. We’ve made some mistakes within some of those games. We’ve had a couple of issues but the most important part to me that’s come up in every one of those games is we’ve found a way to win the game the last couple of weeks. Even though we’ve gotten sloppy or made some mistakes or there’s errors, at the critical moment we step up and make the play to win the game. That’s really what we’ve built off of.”
With all that is asked of a quarterback, is it important now more so than ever to have two quarterbacks ready?
Mullen: “I think it is just with the style of college football. One of the things within the style of college football that makes it easier is that usually the separation between your first and second quarterback isn’t really that great. If you look at the pro game, They’re paying the one guy $15 million and the back-up $500,000. There’s probably a reason for that. In the college game they’re both getting the same scholarship so the separation sometimes between one and two isn’t great.
“I’ve always been a big believer in that not just only in today’s game but you’re one play away from the most important position on the field from the back-up going into the game. The guys on the field have to be comfortable with him and have to believe that this guy can come in and make the plays to win the game. If you don’t have two quarterbacks ready at all times you’re putting yourself at a risk. At a key moment you’re going to put somebody in the game, they’d better have confidence that this guy is going to go out there and win the game for us.”