Mullen talks Tigers

Dan Mullen is 1-6 against LSU. (AP Photo/Jim Lytle)

Dan Mullen is 1-6 against LSU. (AP Photo/Jim Lytle)

Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen joined the rest of the league coaches on the SEC Teleconference on Wednesday.
Here is a transcript of Mullen’s time on the call:
Opening comment:
Mullen: “I’m really happy our team responded in the change from Game 2 to Game 1 with how our guys played. I thought the effort was better as a group. I think they’re ready for the first challenge. It’s a big challenge and there are a lot of young players on our team that haven’t gone on the road and played in a road environment in the SEC so it’ll be a great challenge for those guys.”
What are your thoughts on having the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving and the quick turnaround?
Mullen: “It happened a couple of years ago. I love that. It’s a neat tradition in the game. I remember growing up, that’s when the game was played. Every year you could watch that game on Thanksgiving night. I’m a big proponent of it. I would’ve loved to have seen it been Thursday night every year.”
If Danny Etling does start for LSU, how important will it be for the defense to get pressure and make him uncomfortable being that it will be his first SEC start?
Mullen: “It doesn’t matter who they put at quarterback, we’ve got to get pressure on them. They’ve got such great wide receivers out there on the edge. They’ve got playmakers and if we let the quarterback stand in the pocket and make it a 7-on-7 drill it will be a long night for us. Whoever plays quarterback we’re going to have to get pressure on them.”
How good has A.J. Jefferson been? Is he one of the more underrated players in the league?
Mullen: “I don’t know that he’s underrated. I think he gets attention. He’s a hard worker. I know he’s not one of the freakier athletes that people have in the league. He’s kind of gotten it done through development and hard work. I think sometimes you lose some of the attention that way. I think people know what type of player he is.”
What kind of problems does Brandon McIlwain of South Carolina present that are different than starter Perry Orth?
Mullen: “They’re different players in the running game. No. 11 (McIlwain) is a dynamic player. As a young guy, you can see that he’s learning the drop back game and learning how to be in the pocket and throw the football. That’s not going to be his strong point.
“His strong point is elusiveness. He can extend plays. When you think you have him, he can extend plays and make things happen. Also on top of that, he’s able to scramble around to extend those play and in the running game you have to account for him. He can make a small play into a big play in a hurry.”
Did that make McIlwain more difficult to contend with than Orth or was it just different?
Mullen: “It was just different because they’re going to run different plays. You just have to be ready for who you’re facing at quarterback and what their strengths are. You have to try to take away what they do well.”

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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