Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen meets with the media following the Bulldogs’ 23-20 loss at LSU Saturday night at Tiger Stadium. The Bulldogs are now 1-2 on the year with both losses coming by a combined four points.
Opening Statement… “I tell you what, we have a young team. I talked to them about the effort in which they play with. I thought we played with some good effort in the second half. First half, I don’t think our guys were worried about the right things. Whether it was the score or the crowd, they weren’t worried about going as hard as they could every play. I talked to them about that at halftime. There’s a lot of young football players on our team. I think there are 16 guys now that were on the team last time we came here. Of our 70‐man travel squad, it was the first time here for 54 guys on our team. I think they were worried about the wrong things, and not about going harder. There were a lot of plays to be made in the first half. They were making some plays and we weren’t. They run double post, it’s a touchdown. We run double post, it’s just off our finger tips. There were plenty of opportunities to make some plays that we didn’t make. I think it all comes down to the effort. I liked the effort our guys played with at the end, but we came up short. They’re going to learn that you have to give the effort for all 60 minutes to win football games.”
On what adjustments at half were made to help out the defense on third downs… “I told them to stop worrying about anything but going as hard as you can. Honestly, that was our halftime adjustment. Give them some credit. They made some plays on third down. Their quarterback made some throws. Their receivers made some spectacular catches, but they have four or five‐star players at every position. Overall, our big adjustment was to go harder.”
On how the quarterback competition has changed from Damian Williams’ performance… “It doesn’t, but I thought he did a great job. That’s what you want. He’s a veteran player, and he was ready. He made some plays for us and did a very nice job. Helmet popped off then he went in. I think he then completed a pass. We were in our two‐minute offense so we didn’t want to sub him out. He led us down for the first touchdown drive. Then we recovered an onside kick right away. He looked like he was hot so we just kept going.”
His thoughts on the offense before Damian Williams entered the game… “I thought it was okay. I was kind of disappointed in some missed opportunities that were there. There were plays to be made that we didn’t make. To win football games you have to go as hard as you can. If you have an opportunity to make a play, you need to make it.” On if the speed of the game gave his team any struggles… “No. I don’t think so. I think we gave up some touchdowns and the guys got frustrated. We weren’t doing a good job of getting off the field on third down. We just need to get the young guys ready and confident to go play. Until you’re a veteran, confident player, you just need to go as hard as you possibly can.”