Mississippi State finished its fourth practice of the spring and second in pads on Friday. Afterwards, head coach Dan Mullen shared his thoughts on what he has seen so far this spring.
After first days of pads practices “There’s so much to evaluate right now. I mean, there’s so many guys trying to get reps, and guys are fighting for playing time. Just fighting to get experience, to get an opportunity to be out there on the field.
“What I like, I think we’ve got a lot of guys with good attitudes, that have put in work. There are some veteran guys that have experience, that have played. And so I think everyone is at such stage, that’s how you view it.
“So what you’re doing is making sure you’re seeing progression and that everybody continuing to improve. That’s what is important.”
A lot of energy was shown today, is that from getting a weekend off? “No, I think it’s just pads. A beautiful day, there’s no school today, a good day to play some football. They enjoyed being out here.”
Brandon Bryant said he switched to No. 1 because he wants to be No. 1 on the field, have you gotten a vibe for his approach?“Yeah, I mean he’s got a great work ethic. As long as his GPA stays right he’ll stay in No. 1. I mean he could switch back if his GPA’s not right, you know?
“No, I think he has a great attitude. He has a great work ethic. I think he’s trying to become a leader, trying to step into a little bit of a leadership role. And that role is available in the back-end of the defense. So it’s great to see him trying to take responsibility that way as well.”
Is GPA a requirement to have No. 1 jersey? “Sure, for him. I mean nobody had it right now. So moving forward, a lot of that, the jersey numbers, a lot of that stuff is determined on GPA. That’s the quarterback reps, all of that stuff. All those type of things start with GPA, that’s how you start earning it in the off-season.”
How have the senior defensive players learned the new coaches? “Well, I think they’re all coming along. I think everybody is still, shoot we’re still only four practices in, two with pads. I think everybody is still just kind of getting used to each other all around, both sides.”
What are you looking for in your running backs? “Again, they’re all at different stages within their career. Just consistency. We’ve got four young guys to me that I really want to see grasp the offense, take some giant steps forward being prepared to play. And then just really great consistent play-making performances from the older guys.”
With six running backs and four quarterbacks how do you juggle the reps at practice? “We really try to count them, and split them up in different groups and different areas. As you see, I guess the quarterbacks to me everybody takes a snap with every group, and everybody should have the equal number of reps going through spring.
“And we’ll see where we are after spring at that point, if there is a major separation in any of the four. I mean 3, 2, 1, however it will sort-out it’ll change the reps. But that might not happen until we get closer to the season.”
Do you like how the quarterbacks are responding to this open competition? “Yeah. I want to see, I’ll watch the film tonight. We could have performed a little bit better, I don’t know how well they performed today.
“But some little things that that we’ve got to get there. Consistency is such a part of that at that player. But we’ll watch it on film. One, is to see the guys continue to improve. The one who can keep making improvement is probably going to be next. They’re going to continue to improve not now, throughout the whole year.”
How have you worked around the calendar this year with spring break and Easter break this close together? “Well, we control the schedule. That’s it. One of the things we want to do in a family program is make sure guys get the opportunity to have Easter with their family and spend Easter time with their family.
“The spring break was something we arranged (one practice before it) just maybe different this year. I’m never locked-into one set deal anyway. The guys, I just really want to give them an extra day off between practices right now to get themselves right for next week.”
Jamal Peters was not out here today? “Yeah, he had a family issue.”