Monday with Mullen

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen held his weekly press conference on Monday to discuss the Bulldogs’ 51-50 win at Arkansas and preview their game against Ole Miss.

Opening Statement


“Rivalry week is a great week. It’s always a lot of fun for fans all around the country. It’s a big game for us; it’s our last home game. These seniors have put a lot into this program. They’re one of the winningest senior classes in school history. That’s always an emotional time for them, their families, the coaches, fans and everyone. It’s just a last chance to say goodbye to guys that have done so much for our program. It’s a pretty neat deal. I always enjoy that. For us as a team, I think we came out of last week’s game healthier than when we went into it. We didn’t really have anyone get that banged up during the course of the game. Gus Walley will be questionable for us, but everyone else really came back healthier than when they went in. That’s fantastic. Everything kind of changes this week, being Thanksgiving week. We have an entirely different schedule for our guys. We give them the opportunity to prepare for the game and do it all the right way, but we also want to give them some family time for the holidays. So we’ll go with that schedule this week.”

On the home field advantage of Egg Bowl hosts…

“I don’t know if it’s just the Egg Bowl. It might be all of college football, especially here in the SEC. Home-field advantage is such a big deal. One, you’re at home. You have your routine, your fans, your home stadium gets behind you, especially rivalry games. It’s such a huge deal. Our fans do such a great job of giving us that home field advantage. They encourage our team and also make things a little difficult on the visiting team. Our fans do a great job of that, but in this league fans do that everywhere.”

On Elgton Jenkins job at right tackle vs. Arkansas…

“I thought he did a good job with Justin Senior being banged up. Senior was ready to go for the game, but he wouldn’t have been 100 percent. If you’re not 100 percent and if we don’t get you into the rotation early, it’s hard to come in and play. I was talking to John [Hevesy] and we just kind of went with our group. Elgton came in, and I thought he did a really good job. He was able to stay healthy throughout the course of the game, and I think moving forward that’s huge because we’re looking at Justin now and we’re able to rest him. We expect [Senior] to be close to 100 percent on the practice field.”

On the legacy of this year’s senior class…

“I think it will be pretty special. They’re the winningest senior class since that crew in ’42. We remember those guys. I think they have done an awful lot. They’ve changed the perception of our program in two ways. One, how our program is received outside of the program, nationally. Two, also differently within our program, within our fanbase. Expectations within our program and what people think we can accomplish have changed.”

On getting over an emotional victory against Arkansas…

“It’s all kind of the same, whether it’s a win or a loss. For Sunday’s meeting, you’re either really happy or really sad, but by the time the team meeting ends on Sunday, you should be over it one way or the other. Maybe when we stretch during Sunday night practice, we’re a little happier after a win, but once you start practicing again and start game planning again, our focus is on winning the next game. I think we’re over it. It’s on to the next one.”

On the legacy of senior quarterback Dak Prescott…

“Records are meant to be broken. So I’m sure someday someone will come and break all of the records he has. I don’t know if there’s anyone in Mississippi State history that holds as many records as he holds. I’m guessing when they announce him for senior night, it’ll probably be really loud. I bet he’ll get a pretty good ovation. All of our fans will show him their appreciation for all that he’s done.”

On Ole Miss’ offense and quarterback Chad Kelly…

“I think what he does outside of their offense is where he presents problems. He brings improvisational skills. When the play breaks down, he is a very deceptive runner. He makes people miss. He can avoid pressure. He keeps plays alive and breaks tackles. He’s elusive with the ball in his hands. That’s really it. When the play breaks down, what he can do on his own is hard to defend because it’s not in their scheme.”

On Ole Miss’ defensive line…

“They have some really athletic guys up front. They play hard. They’re disruptive. They get great penetration off the ball. They do a lot of movement with those guys. They aren’t the biggest defense, but they blitz all over the place. They don’t stand still so that you can just block them.”

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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