By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
This week’s game: Auburn (0-1, 0-0 SEC) at MSU (1-0, 0-0), Saturday, 11 a.m., ESPN (Dave Pasch, Brian Griese and Jenn Brown)
Dan Mullen held his weekly press conference this afternoon to kick off Auburn week. It’ll be the SEC opener for MSU, which has lost four in a row in this series. It can’t be overstated how big this game is not only for the Bulldogs’ season hopes, but for Mullen’s bona fides as a coach. Let’s hit some highlights from today’s chat, and I’ll have some videos here in a bit.
• Injury report: As expected, tight end Malcolm Johnson (pectoral) is out again this week, and reserve offensive lineman Templeton Hardy (ankle) has been upgraded to probable.
• On Auburn’s offense in the Tigers’ 26-29 loss to No. 14 Clemson: “You have one game to watch of them to see what they are. I don’t know what they held back. They probably held a bunch back last week. … We’ll have to be prepared for the unknown in this situation.”
• On carryover from the Jackson State win to this week’s game: “The speed of the game’s going to be a little bit different this week. Auburn has a very fast defense, a very experienced defense. That adjustment will be a little bit different for our guys, but we go against a fast defense every day all through training camp.”
• On whether there are other new players he wants to get in the game this week (17 freshmen played last week): “I still want to play a lot of guys. On the offensive line, obviously Tobias (Smith) and Gabe (Jackson) will get more reps this week than they did last week. I’ve seen them play a lot of football around here, so I wanted to force-feed some guys who hadn’t.”
• On freshman kicker Devon Bell, who had four point-after kicks and missed a 42-yard field goal: “He had a really fast get-off time, kind of the juice got to him a little bit. He was fired up right there, over-strided on the kick, and his plant foot was way out of position.”
• On sixth-year senior tight end Marcus Green, who had a touchdown Saturday: “The great thing about Marcus Green, when I got here he doubted, had personal doubt in his mind in believing what we did. That’s all changed. He’s an all-in guy in our program.”