Mullen: On Injuries, High Ranking & QBs

We spent 30 minutes – 30 MINUTES – chatting with MSU head football coach Dan Mullen on Wednesday, and you know what the best part about it was? I didn’t have to transcribe most of it.

My man David Murray of was kind enough to pass along the transcript. So all I had to worry about last night was the stuff Mullen said about Geoff Collins, the new linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator.

Mullen covered a variety of topics, so I’ll just use the ol’ bullet-point approach and cherry-pick some of the highlights. Good? Good.

• He said there’s been no offseason attrition (other than players graduating, of course), however, reserve center D.J. Looney‘s career is likely done. He’s had knee issues, and the rising senior will probably stick around as a student assistant coach.

“We haven’t done all the paperwork yet. I mean, if he comes back to me and says my knees feel unbelievable, I want to give it one more shot, we’re going to go give it one more shot.”

• No players have needed surgery since the end of the season. “The reason we did the (fall) surgeries is to get everybody ready for spring. We’re hoping to get all the guys that we kind of pulled off the field during the season – Archie Muniz, Curtis Virges, Matt Wells – so they would be ready for spring practice.”

• Speaking of having guys ready for spring, Mullen was asked if tight end Marcus Green (who had knee surgery on Oct. 7) would be ready by then.

“I don’t know if it will be contact. If you guys saw, our spring ball is going to be split. To fit spring in with how we want to do it with Super Bulldog Weekend being a week earlier this year we’re going to have to split it around spring break. So I’m sure if some of those guys in the first four practices just before spring break are limited, we’re hoping to get them back full-go after spring break.”

• On whether MSU’s No. 15 final ranking in the AP poll exceeded his expectations: “If you would have offered that to me last August I would have taken it. I might have hit the ‘deal’ button, I don’t know if I would have gone ‘no deal’ and kept going.”

• Junior OL Quentin Saulsberry had filed paperwork with the NFL to see what his draft status would be, and since he wasn’t projected to go within the first three rounds, he’s returning for his final season. “I met with Quentin today and he’s not planning on going anywhere. As he met with me about it where he is today and hopefully look at some things he needs to improve on for his future.”

Saulsberry, who’s played four different positions in his career, is the likely starting center in 2011. He spent some time there this past fall when J.C. Brignone got hurt.

Chris Relf has established himself as the man at quarterback, but that guarantees nothing for next season. Mullen said the QB competition will be “wide open,” just like every position.

“I know that might sound like coach-talk, but I’ll be honest. I was in this position a couple of years ago, people asked me how is the spring work out, you’ve got Tim Tebow, Cameron Newton and Johnny Brantley. I said it’s wide-open; but Tim Tebow’s just won the Heisman Trophy, I said I could care less what he just won, it’s what he’s gonna do this spring to me. Everybody gave me this smirk around the room, and probably a similar room than I’m sitting now.”

• On what he likes about freshman QB Dak Prescott, a January enrollee: “He came into camps last summer, came to the first camp and did a good job and we told him that. He said, ‘Coach, I don’t want to do a good job, I want to do a great job.’ So he came back to the second camp and dominated. I was just pleased with all of that, with his demeanor.”