Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen fields questions from the media following the Bulldogs’ 27-14 victory over South Carolina on Saturday.
“I like the effort our guys came out with and gave in the first half. That kind of looked like Mississippi State football. The effort and the strain our guys played with, the intensity our guys played with in that first half. We need to do a much better job in the red zone, especially in the first half. We had some missed opportunities there to get points. I think on two of our possessions in the first half, we came away empty. You cannot do that and win games. In the second half, we have young players and they need to learn to keep it cranked up for four quarters. I think the rain delay made them wait and wait, but they need to learn to crank it back up in the second half. We have to give South Carolina credit. They had those guys ready in the second half. The young quarterback comes in, makes some plays and they continue to battle and play hard for four quarters. That is what you are always going to get in Southeastern Conference games.
On starting Nick Fitzgerald…
“It was kind of what I saw based on last week. He had been graded a little bit higher all through training camp. That decision led him to play for a straight four quarters. I thought he came out and played fairly well. He has a couple of things in the throwing game, and managing and learning from reps. All of that just comes from more experience.”
On how practice has been leading up to this game…
“It has been pretty intense, I’ll tell you that much. That is what it is, that is who we are since I have been here as a head coach. This team plays with unbelievable passion and 11 guys playing as hard as they can when the ball snaps. I do not know if I saw that last week. We played football, but I do not think I saw that desperation. That is on me to set that standard; we have a lot of young guys and we are looking for leaders in our program. And if I do not have the desperate intensity, how can I expect them to have it. I want to make sure they know how hard we have to go. You have to do that for four quarters, and I thought we did.”