Orange Bowl Q&A with Dan Mullen

Dan MullenMississippi State head coach Dan Mullen fielded questions from the media on Monday in advance of the Bulldogs appearance in the Orange Bowl.

The following is a transcript of what Mullen had to say…

Q. I know that you guys have been here for a couple days, but you were finally able too get on the beach yesterday. How was that?

DAN MULLEN: You know what, I think the guys had a lot of fun. It’s a tremendous experiencefor these young men to come. I know for some it’s their first time ever seeing the ocean, so I guess people here in Miami just think they get used to that, but a lot of these young guys’ first opportunity to see the ocean, to get to go out on jet skis and just experience a whole ‘nother world, a whole ‘nother life they’ve never been exposed to is just really special.

Q. I’m sure it’s a little bit different feeling because usually when you get prepared for a game you’re somewhere else. It doesn’t happen a lot for you guys in Miami. Is the psyche a little bit different knowing that it’s here?

DAN MULLEN: Well, I think the fact that we’ve been to a couple different bowl games the past couple years has helped our guys understand a little bit of the bowl routine, but the older guys and the leadership do a great job of getting us into game week, getting us into our game routine. It’s Thursday today for us, so I don’t know what day it is for the rest of the world, but today is a Thursday and all our guys get that mindset that we’re in Thursday practice and we’re in our Thursday routine.

Q. How are they handling this is work time, this is play time?

DAN MULLEN: Well, we put a lot of that on the leadership, and that’s a really important part of it all. We make sure there’s a lot of time for them to have fun while they’re here and enjoy the whole experience, but also to make sure that when it is time to go to work, we’re here to win a football game, so we’re at work getting the job done, doing what we need to do to be successful.

Q. I heard you on a radio spot when you were down here previewing the game and you’re clearly a guy who likes to have fun, who likes to enjoy yourself. How do you keep it loose for the team as this game gets closer and closer?

DAN MULLEN: Well, I think you do that. I think we set up the whole week for them, for them to be like a game week, but for our guys normally in a game week they have school, they have tutoring, they’re going to class, all those things, so I guess we’ve just replaced all the classroom and tutoring time with going to the beach and having a lot of fun on South Beach and doing a lot of those things. But our guys really understand that balance of the bowl — we’re here as a reward for such a great season, but we’re also here to win a football game. We depend on the leadership of the older guys to manage both of those two things. Know what it’s time to be locked in, when it’s time to completely focus on doing our job football-wise and when it’s time to put our feet up and relax.

Q. When you’re out recruiting do you try and get that part of your personality out to the guys that it’s not going to be all work?

DAN MULLEN: We do, but most of our guys come to Mississippi State because they want to be the best they can be. You look at our program, we have 19 guys playing the game that have already earned their undergraduate degrees. We have four or five more guys that will finish with masters degrees this spring. They’re there to become the best football players they can be, and our program is based off.

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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