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:
Mullen: “It’s great to go into the open date coming off a win. I think it gives everybody a real positive attitude for this. Guys are working hard on fundamentals and techinique that you don’t always get to work on during the regular game week.”
Auburn’s Gus Malzahn relinquished his play calling duties. How do you balance the two trying to call plays and prepare on game day and being a head coach and manning an entire program?
Mullen: “It’s always tricky. You’ve got to look at your staff and who’s on your staff. We’re pretty fortunate play-calling wise. We’ve had a lot of continuity on the offensive side of the ball. I think that takes some of the pressure off.
“If I’m actually doing head coaching things, I don’t think we miss a beat with somebody else calling the plays. Even though I call a bunch of the plays, they’ll be times where I click over and say ‘hey, I need to do something with the defense, call the plays’ and then somebody else is calling them.
“I think that just makes it an easy flow for us. I understand where he comes from. As a head coach, there’s an awful lot to manage during the course of the game.”
Have you ever contemplated giving up play calling or do you get personal enjoyment about that part of the game?
Mullen: “I love and enjoy calling plays. There’s been years here where I haven’t called plays. Some years I have and some years I’ve called part of them. The last couple of years I’ve called the plays and I think we’ve done pretty well offensively so I’ve kind of wanted to stick with that.”
Were you stunned Sunday when Les Miles was fired and what was your reaction?
Mullen: “I was pretty shocked. It seems like every year the last couple of years it comes down to the last play of the game against them. I was. I understand the pressure we’re under in this league. You’re on the hot seat. You’re basically as good as your last game. We won the last game so I guess I get a breather this week.
“That’s all you are and that’s the expectations that you understand when you coach in this league. But the timing of that really surprised me. I don’t think that’s good for the game to have college coaches fired. It’s not good for the kids in the program. You have the opportunity to lose a lot of stability.
“I remember taking over a program where the coach was fired mid-season and the whole team was on academic probation. It wasn’t here, it was another stop I made as an assistant. I just don’t think it’s healthy for the program to do it at this time.”
What was your reaction to Scott Stricklin taking the Florida job and how that impacts you?
Mullen: “Obviously I work for the athletic director here so that had a huge impact for me in the future. I look at it and I’m not shocked that people came after Scott hard and the way Florida came after Scott hard. If you look at the facility improvements he’s made here with stadium expansions, our football and softball facilities. Across the board, great improvements in facilities and great improvement in attendance in almost all of our sports.
“The baseball team is going to Omaha, the women’s basketball team in the Sweet 16. We’ve won more games that Florida has over the past six seasons, not just one or two. They looked at the success our athletic department was having and you can see why Florida would want to come and get someone like Scott.”
Does it create any anxiety for you during the season wondering who your next boss will be?
Mullen: “I guess I’ll go back to my answer about Les. If you’re coaching in this league, it’s doesn’t matter who that is. You’d better win your next game. You’re as a good as the last game you played. There’s plenty of anxiety for me.
“I haven’t had a chance to sit down to talk to anybody really about the future. I might do that this week to see where the people see the future of the athletic department going. I guess that will either increase or decrease my anxiety.”