Dan Mullen Chat Highlights

Two days prior to the Maroon-White spring football game, head coach Dan Mullen participated in a live chat on MSU’s web site this afternoon. It was the third and final chat in a series, which also featured defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and offensive coordinator Les Koenning.

Won’t give you the whole transcript – you can find that here – but I bring you some highlights.

Q: What is the biggest surprise you’ve seen thus far this spring?

A: I think Chris Relf‘s improvement, embracing the total package of being a quarterback, and his total commitment to the job.

Q: Will we ever see those black uniforms again?

A: I certainly hope so. We may have even more surprises this season.

Q: Who has impressed you this spring from the group of redshirts or incoming players that we haven’t seen much of yet?

A: LaDarius Perkins. Tyler Russell. Nickoe Whitley. Oh, and Vick Ballard. He’s looked good.

Q: Which true freshmen are you expecting to come in and play?

A: We hope several of them can. Hard to tell which ones until they get here and go through our workouts during the summer and August.

Q: Would 40,000 (fans) make you happy Saturday or do you really want 50,000?

A: 40 this year. 45 or 50 next year.

Q: Will we see a lot of the two-quaterback system, I.e., Tim Tebow-Chris Leak, or do you hope to have one guy take over?

A: We haven’t decided on that yet. If they’re both ready to play, we may play two quarterbacks. It’ll be different from Tebow-Leak, because our players are different.

Q: Can Chris Smith be the receiver that I think he can be?

A: Hope so. Chris is working real hard this spring. Seen improvement, but he still has a long way to go to become a complete receiver.

Q: What kind of improvements do you anticipate on special teams? Has (kicker) Sean Brauchle fully recovered from last season’s injury?

A: He’s almost back to 100 percent. We expect our kicking game to be better because we have more experience returning at those positions.

Q: How does our offensive line stack up to other offensive lines in the SEC?

A: We have the opportunity to be one of the better ones in the SEC this year with the experience we have at the position.

Q: How is Nickoe Whitley progressing?

A: He’s improved greatly. We see him in the rotation at the safety position, whether it’s as a starter or backup will be determined by his work this summer.

Q: Who do you see being our deep threat to stretch the defense?

A: Still looking. Hopefully Leon Berry can become that guy.

Q: What was the best lesson you learned in your first year as a head coach?

A: Delegating responsibility to improve time management to coach more football and do less administrative work.

Click video to hear audio