Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen joined the rest of the league’s head coaches on the SEC coaches’ teleconference to preview the Bulldogs upcoming game against LSU.
Here is a transcript of Mullen’s time on the call…
Mullen: “We’re fired up to start Southeastern Conference play. This is what we work hard for are these conference games and the opportunity to go compete in the SEC West, win the west and go to Atlanta.
“I love the attitude of our team. You can tell the demeanor of practice has changed a little this week. Everyone understands that now it’s time to get into conference play. They’re excited to go down and play at LSU on Saturday night.”
How much different is your offense with Dak Prescott being the primary guy as opposed to rotating guys like you did last year?
Mullen: “The first thing that’s a little bit different is that we use about 60-percent of our playbook every season and how it applies to the team. So there was some stuff when we had Tyler Russell last year that would be more focused towards Tyler. Now with Dak we might take some of that stuff out and put some other things in. The overall philosophy of the offense doesn’t change at all.”
You’ve coached some quarterbacks that seem to fit your offense pretty well. Is Prescott a prototypical quarterback for your offense?
Mullen: “He is and the No. 1 factor is he is a winner. He’s got great mental and physical toughness. He’s a competitor and a winner. If you look at all the quarterbacks that we’ve had from Josh Harris to Alex Smith to Chris Leak to Tim Tebow to Chris Relf to Tyler Russell, there’s been so many. They are all different shapes and sizes and bring different things to the table with different skill sets.
“But to me, the one thing that Dak has is that he’s a winner. He’s got great mental and physical toughness and really great leadership. That’s the most important thing that we look for. He is the prototypical quarterback that I want.”
Can you talk about LSU defensively? It seems that no matter what they lose, they just reload.
Mullen: “They are a roster full of four and five-star players. They have third string guys who were five-star guys in high school. When guys leave they still have more five-star guys coming up and waiting to go take those reins.
“They have a tremendous amount of talent and speed across that defense. Obviously, they haven’t given up one touchdown in the last 10 quarters. I even saw where they haven’t given up a point in so many drives. I think they haven’t give up 300 yards in the last two games combined. They’re as good a defense as there is in the country.”
When you see a very athletic defense like LSU has, what options does that give you offensively?
Mullen: “You have to execute at a very, very, very high level for four quarters. You have to execute in every aspect of the game. They have playmakers with the football and you’ve got to play a very clean game and execute in every facet.”
How has Beniquez Brown fit in as a full-time starter and how do you feel your defensive front matches up with the running game of LSU?
Mullen: “I think Beniquez has done a great job for us in there. I think he still has a lot of development still ahead of him. He has the opportunity to continue to get better and get more comfortable being a starter.
“I do think we have an opportunity to match up well with them in the front seven. They have an enormous offensive line. They have a 300-pound tight end and 240-pound running backs. They’re enormous so you have to try and have some size out there on the field.
“We have some size in our front seven. We’re not as big as they are but I don’t know if you can find anybody as big as they are. Their smallest offensive lineman is over 300-pounds and they’re all 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-7. You’ve got to have size to match up. We’ve got to try and do that.
“We’ve got to go play a physical game and then tackle. You have to play a physical game every snap because you never know when they’re going to go break a long run.”