MSU game planning turns serious

By Brad Locke / NEMS Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – It’s all going according to plan so far.
After a week of focusing on youth, Mississippi State switched gears a little Friday but really got focused on Saturday, with the veterans and starters back in their normal rotations and the game planning in full swing.
Coach Dan Mullen, whose No. 21-ranked Bulldogs (8-4) play Michigan (7-5) in the Gator Bowl on New Year’s Day, said it hasn’t been a problem for the older players to get back in sync.
“A lot of the guys that have been resting are the mature guys, guys that have played a lot of football,” Mullen said. “So they have the maturity and they were ready to go. I don’t think it was a big adjustment.”
Mullen said the Bulldogs are “as fresh and as fast and as healthy as we’ve been in a long time,” and they’ll continue practicing through Tuesday before taking time off for Christmas. They’ll report to Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 26.
One player who’s adjusting a little bit is junior quarterback Chris Relf, who apparently indulged a bit too much during his downtime.
“I think he ate a couple too many training tables during this break so we have to get him back in shape,” Mullen said. “He needs to lose a pound or two and watch what he eats over Christmas break.”
As for Michigan, the players are starting to focus on how to handle the Wolverines.
“They’re a little bit unorthodox on defense, playing the 3-3-5. We don’t see much of that in the SEC,” Mullen said. “And obviously trying to simulate the speed we’re going to see on offense.”
Saulsberry seeks NFL advice
• Junior offensive lineman Quentin Saulsberry has filed paperwork to the NFL advisory committee, according to Mullen.
The committee will gather information and in a few weeks give Saulsberry his estimated draft projection. The NFL Draft is in April.
“I encourage them to do it,” Mullen said. “When you have the relationship I think we have with our players, open communication with all of them, it’s great. If Quentin comes back and says he’s going in the first round, I’m going to tell him to go.”
Saulsberry started all 12 games this season, 10 at right guard and two at center when J.C. Brignone got hurt.
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or brad.locke@djournal.com.