Mullen reviews first spring scrimmage

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen reviews the Bulldogs’ first spring scrimmage inside Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday.

What is your evaluation of what you saw in today’s scrimmage? “We’ll watch it on tape. Our guys love to play and that’s what’s important out here on the field. You see guys making some plays, doing some things. So many different getting reps, trying to get different things done. A lot of the things coaching-wise you’re just trying to get certain things called against certain looks, that fall into certain guys’ hands to see what they can do.

“So we’ll watch it all and see. I don’t know, until I go evaluate it on film I never really know how it’s going to look.”

How did you structure today? “Just like our regular scrimmage, like we always would. We wanted to get about sixty reps for the ones, sixty reps for the twos. And then it’d be a little less, thirty to forty for the three-group, kind of rolling those guys through. And I think we did that with the play count there, it was kind of important. So one of the things we want to do, we’ll go back and get the right guys the number of reps.

“And our first scrimmage, our first time to see live action out here. So what I want to see is a big jump, big improvement between this week and next week.”

Brandon Bryant had a big day for the defense? “Yeah. He’s played though. Sometimes you expect guys who have played, have more experience it comes a little quicker, easier, naturally to them. Just because they’ve been around and they’ve played a whole bunch.

“I think we saw that with some of the guys. I think he had a couple of interceptions. But a couple of them just got thrown right to him, I don’t know if they were great plays or bad plays by other people.”

What is the idea behind Jamal Peters getting reps at wide receiver? “One, we don’t have any wide receivers because everybody’s hurt. And we felt good at safety.

“He’s such a talented football player, we’re making sure we evaluate the right way here within our program and we put him in position he can be most successful in his future. We’ve seen him a bunch at DB, we’re good there. I want to see because he was a talented offensive player in high school, too. Just seeing if he might even be better on that side of the ball.”

What did you see out of the quarterbacks today? “Some good and bad. And that’s part of it. The key for them is the consistency, of understanding out here on the field is when you’re the guy you’ve got to do it over and over and over and over. And you can’t make special plays and then terrible plays. You’ve got to make consistent plays, and then special plays.”

Was the defense flying around the way you wanted to see? “I think so. We’ll watch on film. They had juice, energy. I think there’s going to be some new leaders out here on the field too, today. So I tried to pay attention to who are the guys trying to be leaders and raise the level of other people’s plays.

“But I think we saw some good things on defense. And there were some new guys getting the reps. The biggest thing in spring for everybody is not is Richie Brown going to be ready to go play, or is A.J. Jefferson going to be ready to go play. It’s making sure that Leo Lewis and Tim Washington and Traver Jung are ready to go play. That’s the important aspect of all this, that they’re getting ready to be at the level we need them to be.”

How is the defense responding to the new staff? “Pretty good. I mean, they’re great coaches, you see they’ve got a lot of high energy out here coaching the guys. They’re learning some new things, we’ve tweaked the defense around, doing things schematically. So there will be a couple of mental errors here and there. But I think overall they’re buying in pretty good.”

Have you received the information from (signee and high school student) Jeffery Simmons’ incident? “I’ll let you know. We’re going to evaluate and we’ll let y’all know. Don’t expect anything in the near future.”

Have you talked to the team about it at all? “Uh-huh.”

What did you say to them? “That we’re evaluating it.”

 Who is involved in that decision-making process? “A lot of people.”

 Is it just athletics? “No, a lot of people. We have a lot of people.”

You’ve been outspoken against violence and especially against women… “Absolutely.”

How do you welcome somebody like that? “I’ll evaluate it all. I will evaluate the whole situation. Which there is a lot of different situations out there. I’ll evaluate all of them.”

Donald Gray said last week he might miss all the spring? “Yeah, I don’t think he’ll be back in this spring. He hyper-extended his knee, I think they said where the bones hit there’s a slight fracture. So it’s going to be about a four-week deal.

“For a guy like him that’s played a bunch, we don’t need to rush him back. It might be close that he could play in the spring game but I don’t think that’s that important for his development.”

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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