We've got quotes!
Lots of 'em. Because we spoke with Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen this afternoon, before he went into the big ballroom to meet the media that doesn't cover the Bulldogs on a daily basis. So all of these quotes come from the pre-presser interview.
I also caught up with a couple of players. First, Mullen highlights.
• On commissioner Mike Slive's suggestion that NCAA again allow partial qualifiers: "You want to make sure we're keeping high standards but not hurting futures of young men to be successful."
• On work ethic of QB Chris Relf: "That's just his understanding of everything, but also his preparation, of his really knowing that I'm desperate to improve, because I'm going to run out of time. That self-motivation, that self-drive comes out."
• On giving athletes an extra stipend: "I think it's fantastic, but I understand all the difficulties that come with it going across the board for all sports. … There are a lot of our guys that come from socio-economic backgrounds that they don't have anything."
• On people taking him more seriously when he talks about reaching Atlanta: "I think people maybe can look and say, hey, it's not as amusing, they actually have a chance to do it. I think everybody understands how hard the SEC West is. The task this year is not going to be any easier for us than it was last year to get to Atlanta."
• On whether injured RB Nick Griffin (knee) will practice in August: "Probably not. They've said his rehab's coming along faster than they thought it would, which is great. As a young player, we're not going to push. If he's 100 percent ready to go, we're going to do it."
Let's hear from Relf.
• On what Mullen has tried to drive home to him this offseason: "As far as I know, I'm the man right now, and I'm going to keep working to be."
• On being a senior: "This is my last year, I want to send these seniors out with a bang, I want to send the team out with a bang."
And from senior tailback Vick Ballard.
• On mentality coming off a winning season: "It's definitely a different mentality because the expectation is higher. You want to work hard so you can meet that expectation."
• On how he stacks up with other SEC tailbacks: "I think all of us bring something different to the table. We don't have no control over where they put us, so if you make it, I look at it as being an honor."