Roundup: Mullen, Conerly, Ballard and Fanning-Otis

Well, Tuesday was quite eventful, was it not? Let’s recap it all.

Dan Mullen sidestepped talk of his being a candidate for the Penn State vacancy. That doesn’t mean the folks in State College aren’t targeting him, but Mullen talked a lot about “speculation” and preferred to focus on what he still wants to accomplish at Mississippi State.

Fans, understandably, were in a bit of a tizzy Tuesday when reports of Mullen’s candidacy surfaced. Asked what he’d say to fans, Mullen replied, “Same thing I’ve always said to them: I’m very happy here.

He later added, “We need to go sell out our bowl tickets right now, travel to whatever bowl game selects us next week. We need to get ready to continue to sell out the stadium, increase the waiting list so we can expand the stadium seating that everybody wants to do and continue to push on for the future as we try to compete in the toughest division in college football.”

Mullen said he wasn’t going to even mention the Penn State reports during Tuesday’s team meeting, and the players – at least the ones on Twitter – seem to be handling it well.

Johnthan Banks wrote, “Haha so y’all scared coach Mullen is leaving????” Then Fletcher Cox wrote, “They scared Mullen gone dip bahaha.”

Later Tuesday, after we’d spoken with Mullen, a Jackson television station reported that Mullen was close to reaching a deal with Penn State. It cited anonymous sources and sounded fishy from the get-go. And during the Conerly Trophy presentation last night, a person from the station apologized to Mullen for the “erroneous report,” per Joe Galbraith‘s tweet.

OK, on to other items.

• Speaking of the Conerly – it goes to the state’s top college football player – Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis took home the award, breaking a two-year streak of MSU players winning it. Banks, a junior cornerback, was among the five finalists.

• MSU tailback Vick Ballard has been selected to play in the Senior Bowl. Teammate Chad Bumphis made it known on Twitter last night, and Ballard confirmed it via the same medium. Those selections will become official later. The Senior Bowl will be played Jan. 28 in Mobile, Ala.

• MSU women’s basketball coach Sharon Fanning-Otis will try for her 600th career win tonight when South Alabama visits. Tipoff at Humphrey Coliseum is 7 o’clock. The Lady Bulldogs are 5-1 on the year.

Fanning-Otis, in her 17th season at MSU, is 272-217 here. It’s her 36th year overall, with other head coaching stops at UT-Chattanooga and Kentucky.