A couple of things to note about this week’s Blog Bag. First, with the limited player availability, I had to be choosier with my questions of coach Dan Mullen so as to assure i had ample material for this week’s writing. Therefore, a couple of your questions didn’t get asked, but I’ll attempt to answer them the best that I can.
Secondly, some of you had questions related to Auburn, and frankly, that’s not something the MSU folks are thinking much about right now, but I’ll revisit those questions for next week’s Blog Bag. (Speaking of which, I’ll try to get the BB posted Monday and give y’all answers by Thursday. Woo, gonna be a crazy week.)
OK, let’s do this, so I can get to exorcising this sinus demon that possessed me last night.
Q: Many excellent programs have active and solid “walk-on programs” for their football teams. The University of Nebraska, for instance, depends heavily on theirs. Where does Mullen want ours to be, and how far do we have to go to get there?
A: Mullen would much prefer using scholarship players, although the case of linebacker Emmanuel Gatling, a walk-on who earned a scholarship last year, is certainly an inspiring one. But those don’t happen often.
The fewer freshmen Mullen has to put on the field, the better. “I don’t know if many of the freshmen are going to play. … When we get the program going the way we want and get all that competition, it should be tougher for them to get on the field.”
Q: I see your boy Kyle Veazey is going home. How do you feel about that?
A: Yes, the Clarion-Ledger’s MSU beat writer is switching over to the Ole Miss beat. Home for Kyle, though, is not Oxford, but Paris, Tenn. I’ll miss him. Great reporter from whom I’ve learned much in my two years covering this beat.
Q: Ask coach Mullen how many players on the current roster have NFL potential.
A: This was a question I didn’t get to ask Mullen. As for seniors, defensive end Pernell McPhee is an easy choice, and Mel Kiper recently wrote that McPhee is the only NFL-ready player on MSU’s roster right now.
I believe left tackle Derek Sherrod could get drafted, too, and linebacker K.J. Wright should get a look, too. As for juniors and below, hard to say at this point, but you obviously have to consider guys like WR Chad Bumphis and DT James Carmon.
Q: How much of the offensive playbook will we see Saturday? And how much will be saved for Auburn/LSU/Georgia?
A: I imagine Mullen will keep it as vanilla as he can against Memphis, but then again, as I mentioned yesterday, the first pass of 2009 was thrown by Bumphis, so who knows. As for the bigger picture, Mullen said the Bulldogs aren’t going to use everything this year.
“Some of our stuff really doesn’t apply to this year’s team. You look at some of the things that we do. Each year it’s always going to tweak around what applies to the team and what we’re looking to accomplish from our team. I feel pretty good about what we’re really going to use as a team and run on Saturday.”
Q: Ask Mullen how he feels about our team being the underdog again this season?
A: I don’t believe Mullen has ever really considered himself an underdog. Dude’s self-confidence is off the charts. He’s been talking about getting to Atlanta since Day 1. As for the team, yes, he realizes they’re not championship-caliber yet in terms of overall talent level and depth.
This Mullen quote from the spring sums it up nicely: “I think everybody’s really bought in to the direction our program is going, and we’re certainly not going to slow down this year. We’re going to keep the excitement going.”