Monday with Mullen

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen held his weekly press conference Monday to discuss the Bulldogs’ win over South Carolina and preview the road opener at LSU.

Opening Statement…

“I was pleased last Saturday on how we came out, especially in the first half. We came out and played Mississippi State football with 11 guys running to the ball. On defense, we had guys playing hard and offensively, we played with some good tempo, pretty aggressive approach in the game, getting after people, running the football, and those are the things we really like to do. I think that hour to 20 something minute halftime break (lightning delay) made it tough to keep the focus and intensity of the team. I don’t think we had as good of a second half that I would’ve liked to have had in the game, but I am very pleased with our guys making the plays we needed to make in order to win that football game. This week will obviously will be a much different challenge going on the road and in a very difficult environment to go and play in against an excellent team that’s got talent all across the board at every position. They have dynamic playmaking wide receivers, possibly the best running back in America, a bunch of veteran players on offense, a lot of playmakers on the defensive side, dynamic secondary physical-athletic offensive linemen and linebackers, and a bunch of players that can really run. They don’t have a lot of weaknesses on their team. You look at the personnel, they have as many good players as any other team in America. This will be a great challenge for us and a tough environment for us to go out there and win.”

On offensive tackle Martinas Rankin …
“I thought he did some good things and missed a couple of critical things in the second half. All of that comes from experience and trust, trusting your technique, and knowing what’s going on – on the field. The more we could get guys ready to play, be game ready, and have game experience, the better off we will be in the long run.”

On defensive lineman Will Coleman …
“It will be close to see if he will make it back this week for us or not. A guy that we put in for a starter for us in the beginning of the season, losing him for the first couple of games, but getting him back will obviously add depth because all of the other guys have gotten to play and gain experience.”

On keeping the intensity from last game going into LSU …

“I guarantee that I will bring the intensity every single day at practice and make sure the intensity is there. As the leader, I have to set that standard and I’ll set that standard really high to make sure that we play with that same level, sense of urgency, and desperate intensity that we need to win a game.”

On consistency …
“I think with a lot of young players, they are finding their way through it right now, because you cannot simulate games through practice. You can’t simulate emotions, plays, how it’ll affect you, come back and respond to adversity and success, and having to put all of that behind you to play the next play. I think our guys are learning how to be consistent from a play to play basis. As young guys, that is something that they will have to improve on while moving forward.”

On true freshmen defensive linemen Marquiss Spencer and Jeffery Simmons …
“I think they have athleticism, size, and physical maturity that helps. With a lot of younger players getting on the field, a certain level of physical maturity is going to help with being ready for the physical demands that we ask for them to do. Sometimes some guys need a little more development, not that the other guys won’t be great players, but some guys have that physical tool that fits right in a little better from day one. Both of those guys have all of that and I think size really helps them more.”

On LSU quarterbacks …
“I don’t think that have named a starter or officially changed, but it’s different guys so you have to get ready for multiple guys that bring a little something different to the table.”

On young guys going into their first SEC road game …

“We have to coach them up and get them ready for it. Again, you would not be able to simulate a game for players. You have to try to simulate some of the adverse situations as best as possible. It’s on the coaches that we put guys in situations and positons so that they can succeed. You always have to adapt to your personnel. For us, our personnel is dealing with injuries, so our personnel may be a little different than we would have expected at this point and we have to adapt. We have to adapt as coaches also to make sure that we put these players in situations that they can succeed.”

On A.J. Jefferson’s development from freshman year to senior year …

“Night and day. He redshirted, played minimally, if at all as a freshman. He started to get in the rotation as a sophomore and he played a lot as a junior. You just see his development in the program, not just his physical development but being a better technique player. He understands the game, so it allows him to use his technique to go make plays out there on the field. He’s grown having gone through all of that to be a leader. He makes sure that everyone understands to get to where you are, you don’t just show up and you are a great player. You have to work at it. He’s worked for going into five years now. It’s a big honor for him this week. With him, it just shows the progression of what hard work and development can do for a player.”

On Nick Fitzgerald being named starting quarterback earlier in the week …

“After the first game, I didn’t want him to worry about that. The plan through camp and even through game one, I don’t think there was any pressure one way or the other. Going forward into the season, I didn’t want him to have to feel that.”

On what Fitzgerald has to improve on …

“Got to get better. Every single day you have to work but not just him, that’s all of our players. You look at what he did, he set a school record for rushing by a quarterback but it wasn’t like he was making dynamic runs and making seven people miss. He made good reads and the line blocked well. If you execute well, I think you can see that he will have success. Hopefully, he just looks at the things he did well and continues to do those things well. (He) can look at the things where he made some mistakes and not make those mistakes again. I’m sure he will make some mistakes on Saturday night down at LSU, but hopefully the mistakes he has already made, he corrects. He fixes and plays with confidence. You are going to make mistakes but let’s respond from it and come back and not make the same mistake again.”

On how to improve red zone offensive efficiency …

“It’s everywhere. I have to do a better job putting us in the right situation. We have to do a better job executing. There’s not one glaring thing in the red zone. It’s a little bit of everything. We practice there an awful lot and our guys are very comfortable down there. I don’t see it as a major issue for us with the comfort. I think it’s just a slight tweak of me making sure I have guys in the right situation and us executing cleaner.”

On the difference of Fitzgerald and Dak Prescott as a runner …

“We were a little bit more of a passing team last year and a little bit more of a running team the year before that. Nick is a different style of runner than Dak was. He’s faster than Dak and a little bit more explosive than Dak with the ball in his hands. I don’t know if he’s as physical as Dak was. It’s a little different style of running.”

 

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.

Posted in Football Tagged with: , , , , , , ,


Want Email Updates? Warning... We Update Often

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 635 other subscribers