Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen joined the rest of the league coaches on the SEC Teleconference on Wednesday.
Here is a transcript of Mullen’s time on the call:
Mullen: “We’re excited about this game. Obviously, it’s a challenge getting ready to go on the road for our first road SEC game. We’re going to have to play at a high level.
“I think we got back to where we wanted to be as a team. We rotated a lot of players in the game, got a lot of different guys on the field and getting them game action for a lot of guys that don’t have a lot of game action. It was good to get them out there on the field, get some reps and get ready to go as they move forward throughout the season.”
How does Auburn benching Jeremy Johnson change your game plan?
Mullen: “It doesn’t change our game plan at all really. I haven’t seen the other guy (Sean White) play. It will be his first action ever. I don’t really know how it’s going to affect them. For us, we just have to go out there and play hard. It’s not going to change anything that we do.”
When did Jamal Peters and Malik Dear show signs they were ready to play this year instead of redshirting?
Mullen: “It’s the players getting ready and also the opportunities that are there. Jamal came in and did a great job on special teams right from Day 1. He’s a guy we realized we could get him out there on special teams. He has great athletic ability at the safety position and as the season goes on and he really learns how to play the game and understands our defense.
“Malik graduated high school early and got to go through spring ball. I think he’s slightly ahead of a lot of the freshmen because of the fact he got to go through spring practice. That’s such a huge advantage for guys to get to do that.”
Are you trying to develop Dak Prescott to run the ball more as the season goes on?
Mullen: “A lot of it is by purpose and some of it is by what teams do. He ran the ball a little bit last week. In all of the reads, they were forcing him to run the ball and has done a good job in the first couple of games.
“He’s doing a great job of managing the offense. A lot of his yards maybe in the past have come off of him scrambling to make plays or scrambling to keep plays alive, I think some of what you’re seeing is he’s doing a better job getting the ball out of his hands and making throws whereas in the past he might take off running and scrambling with the ball in that situation.”
Can you talk about the success Dak Prescott has had against Auburn, especially with his legs?
Mullen: “A guy like Dak comes up in big games. Every year you’re going to play this game. With what type of team Auburn is, it’s going to be such a huge game for us.
“His first SEC start was at Auburn a couple of years ago. He came out and made some plays and made things happen. We fell just short. Last year it was again one of the biggest games of the season and he came out and performed at a high level.
“I don’t know if it’s just that but anytime it’s a big game, he gets ready for big games. That’s what you want your top players to do.”
What do you see differently on film with Auburn’s defense than you saw previously?
Mullen: “Schematically they’re a lot different than they used to be. I think they play really hard on defense. Montravius Adams is one of – if not the – best defensive linemen in the Southeastern Conference. They have big, physical linebackers that really run well to the ball.
“Will (Muschamp) has got them playing hard. They really play hard. I don’t know that they didn’t with Ellis (Johnson). But when you play them you know you’re going to get 11 guys running to the football and they play really hard.”