Reason No. 25: The Players are Coachable

There are many reasons to believe Mississippi State will equal or exceed last season’s success – 31 reasons, in fact. Here’s Reason No. 25.

While watching some MSU 2010 season highlights the other day, one thing stood out to me: Arceto Clark blocking his butt off. There is, of course, the wood he laid on an Ole Miss defender. Less noticeable, but just as important, was how Clark tenaciously held a block against another Rebel defender on Chris Relf‘s 70-yard run.

That’s the sort of selfless play Dan Mullen values in all his players. In most cases he demands them to first find a spot on special teams and play hard there before moving into a regular position role. And once there, he demands players give attention to the intricacies of the game, like receivers blocking downfield.

The Bulldogs have taken to the coaching quite well, even when asked to move around. Cornerback Johnthan Banks has seen time at safety during his career and likely will again this year. He’s been working on punt returns, and Mullen even hinted Banks might get used on offense.

While admitting he’d much prefer to stay at cornerback full time, Banks said recently, “If that’s what’s best for the team, I’ll go over there and do it.”

That’s a refrain I’ve heard from player after player, and that’s good, because Mullen has to mix and match a bit to make up for personnel shortages. Such as the defensive line, where Devin Jones and Kaleb Eulls have both worked at tackle and end.

Winning ballgames has only reinforced the players’ belief in the coaching staff, and that makes them even easier to coach.