Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen joined the rest of the league’s head coaches on the SEC coaches’ teleconference to update the Bulldogs’ bye week.
Here is a transcript of Mullen’s time on the call…
Mullen: “Coming through the first four games, I’m pretty pleased with how we’re playing as a team. We’ve started off 4-0 and we’re excited about that start. Obviously getting the first conference win is really important and we were able to do that last weekend.
“We’ve been able to stay mainly healthy throughout the year which is going to be critical. I know we’ve had a couple of season-ending injuries already from important players but overall we’ve stayed healthy.
“We have an opportunity to have a bye week this week and we look for our guys to improve on things that we haven’t done real well, get healthy and get ready for a big game against Texas A&M in about 10 days.”
People really haven’t thrown Jamerson Love’s way this year. Does he compare talent-wise with Darius Slay or Johnthan Banks and some of the cornerbacks that you’ve sent to the NFL?
Mullen: “He’s a little bit of a different style player than those guys. Jamerson’s a real speed player for us where John had a lot of length and Slay also had some size. I think he’s up there with those guys as that type of a player.
“I still think he’s improving and has things to get better at but he certainly has the talent to potentially play at the next level.”
How about Beniquez Brown’s development at linebacker?
Mullen: “Beniquez has had a great start to the year for us. He’s done a very good job. He’s got a long way to go. It’s his first year as a starter but you can see he’s really grown into that starting role. You can really see him continue to improve from one week to the next.”
With a big victory over LSU, how do you keep your team on an even keel?
Mullen: “The one thing you get to do is point at all the things we did poorly in the game. Up until the last play of the game we were minus-two in the turnover ratio. That was pretty big. We had a couple of important penalties and a couple of opportunities to score touchdowns. There are a lot of things we can point out that we could’ve done much better. Obviously how the game ended, we could have done a lot better there.
“But I met with our older guys and our leadership guys and put it on them. That was just step one of a lot of games we have to play in the SEC against a lot of good football teams. It’s on them. They’ve been through it before and have had ups and downs. So the pats on the back walking around campus and feeling good about yourself, they understand that.
“But for the younger guys, they need to keep their focus. They need to be hard and demanding on the younger guys so that despite having a great win everybody hasn’t accomplished much except going 1-0 and that’s not our goal this season. We’ve got to get back to work.”
Is now a good time to have a bye week coming off that win?
Mullen: “That’s a tough one. There’s never a good or bad time I don’t think to have a bye week. You can say ‘we’ve got this momentum, let’s go play again’. Or you can have this momentum and let’s take this time to knock everybody down a notch and get focused on the next game.
“I don’t know that there’s every a really good or bad time to have a bye. For us, it’s that we take advantage of the bye and that’s how we look at it. We’re going to try and take advantage by getting some guys healthy and get our guys a little bit of a physical break as well as a mental break from game preparation.”