For MSU's coach, it's all about 'reps'

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

As Mississippi State exits the spring, several position battles hang in the balance, although Dan Mullen doesn’t really look at it that way.
“I know a lot of people make it a big deal of who’s the starter,” Mullen said Tuesday, three days after the Maroon-White spring game. “That’s not always that big a deal to me. It’s how many reps you’re going to play.
“If guys are deserving equal reps, then they’ll play equal reps during the game, and that’s what everybody’s fighting for right now going into fall camp.”
So perhaps a better way to put it is to say that few positions are locked down by just one player. That’s due primarily to depth, which is the best Mullen has had at MSU since taking over following the 2008 season.
Running back, receiver, defensive line, even cornerback – all of those positions have multiple candidates to be the No. 1 guy. Or, as Mullen would say, to get the most reps.
Asked which position battles were most intriguing, he said, “All of them. You name it, there are guys that are trying to get on the field at every position, whether it be at receiver or running back to get carries, the tight end position.
“Quarterback, Dak Prescott trying to prove that he’s going to be ready to play and step on the field. Everybody’s fighting to get the last spot on the O-line. Every position.”
Let’s play catch
Receiver might be the most stacked position for the Bulldogs. The group features four seniors and a host of younger players. It’s a diverse group, which makes for richer competition.
And it’s the biggest key to the offense’s success this fall, according to Mullen.
“So now that we’re getting some depth, we have the experience, we have kind of the dependable guys that are now the older guys,” Mullen said. “We’re starting to infuse some young talent in there that gives you some big-play ability. …
“If we’re going to have a great year, we’re going to have to have our receivers, especially our senior receivers, play great.”
MSU will begin preseason camp on or around Aug. 3, and the 2012 season begins Sept. 1 against Jackson State.
brad.locke@journalinc.com