STARKVILLE – Dan Mullen has been waiting for his team to man up and respond to a little adversity.
That’s happened the last two days.
Mullen led his Mississippi State squad through its second scrimmage of the preseason Saturday morning. He particularly liked the pluck showed by his offense, which played well early, “got real bad” in the middle, but finished strong.
Throughout the first three weeks of preseason camp, Mullen far too often saw a poor start lead to a poor practice.
In Friday’s session, “we didn’t start very good but finished strong, which that’s something I hadn’t seen out of this team,” Mullen said. “When things started to not look too good, whether it be offense, defense, special teams, it kind of just stayed that way, no one stood up and made a difference.”
The offense finished up Saturday with a two-minute drill, and Mullen said it was the best he’s seen them run it.
Mullen’s hope is that the game-like conditions under which Saturday’s scrimmage was played will help get MSU ready for the Sept. 5 opener against Jackson State. The scrimmage was held inside Davis Wade Stadium, with cheerleaders leading the team out onto the field and public address announcer Jonathan Holmes warming up his pipes.
MSU went over all its game day routine, from pregame warmups to where to meet at halftime. And certain coaches, including offensive coordinator Les Koenning and defensive coordinator Carl Torbush, did their work from the coaches’ box upstairs.
It was also a chance for Mullen to see who’s ready to step into major roles.
“I guess the ‘starting’ word to me is not really a relevant word for us,” he said. “It’s, ‘Who’s ready to play?’ (Saturday) will give us an idea, hopefully, of who we have ready to play.”
The Bulldogs got through the approximately 120-play scrimmage without anyone getting injured.
“I had a good work day,” Mullen said.
MSU will not practice again until Tuesday.
Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal