By Logan Lowery
STARKVILLE – Dan Mullen is well known for his offensive prowess.
Mullen was the offensive mastermind behind two national championships while serving as a coordinator at Florida. Now in his sixth year as head coach at Mississippi State, Mullen’s spread style could be undergoing some changes.
Not only will Mullen be calling all the plays from the sideline after losing offensive coordinator Les Koenning in the offseason, but the Bulldogs might be going more up tempo as well.
Quarterback Dak Prescott and guard Ben Beckwith spoke openly this week of switching to a no huddle, hurry up style offense.
“We want to score points and get on the ball as fast as possible,” Beckwith said. “That’s our deal this year. Our conditioning this offseason was built on getting on the ball and being ready to go as fast as possible. We want to snap the ball every 30 seconds.”
Mullen, however, seemed a little more guarded on the subject.
“I don’t know that we’re going to do that, we’re a ball control team,” Mullen said. “We want to wear people down. There were a couple times last year with our younger team that we maybe wore down in the fourth quarter playing deeper teams. Having that depth and having the ability to wear people down is huge but our priorities and how we run our schemes are all going to be the same.”
Last season, the Bulldogs averaged 73.5 plays per game and controlled the ball on offense 33:16 after factoring in two overtime wins. MSU’s time of possession ranked second in the Southeastern Conference but its number of plays per game ranked just 57th nationally.
“We’re working on getting on the ball and snapping it quick,” Beckwith said. “We’ve been a huddle team so everybody’s kind of in a lull out there sometimes thinking we can huddle and take our time. But we’ve been working on being fast paced.”
Texas Tech led the country last season running 90.3 plays a contest, improving its average from the previous year by 13.8 plays per game.
It appears State is looking to make a similar type jump this fall, and its junior signal caller approves of the move.
Prescott ran an up-tempo offense at Haughton (La.) High School where he completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,860 yards and 39 touchdowns as a senior while adding 951 rushing yards and 17 more scores.
“I actually like (the no huddle offense),” Prescott said. “In high school, we never huddled at all so it’s kind of going back to my roots. I’m excited for it and I think it will be fun getting the guys going. I’m energetic anyways so going fast non-stop, getting the guys on the line and another play in will be fun and a good change.”
The Bulldogs will host its on-campus media day today as well as the lone practice that is open to the media this fall.