After two-straight losses, nothing gets easier for Dan Mullen and Mississippi State.
Not only do the Bulldogs play the No. 9-ranked LSU Tigers, they play them at night in Death Valley.
“Going down to play a night game at LSU is one of the toughest places to play in the country,” Mullen said. “It’s as loud as anywhere you’re gonna go, but it’s the confidence from the crowd that goes to the players.”
Not only was Mullen complimentary of the atmosphere, he absolutely heaped praise on the team itself, saying Les Miles has a defense chock-full of future NFL players.
“This week’s gonna be a physical, physical ball game,” Mullen said. “In that list of top draft picks by position, a lot of LSU players on defense seem to be on that list.”
Mullen was also impressed by LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who had his best game of the season in a loss to Alabama over the weekend.
Mullen, who watched the game, said he didn’t see the Tigers do anything particularly different, he just thought Mettenberger executed extremely well.
And it’s that execution which led to a less upbeat Monday press conference for Mullen. Only in MSU’s case, it was lack of it.
Mullen said you can look at any stat you want, but the reason for MSU’s losses and poor efforts the last two weeks boil down to one thing.
“We’ve just gotta execute better,” Mullen said. “When you watch the film, it’s pretty simple.”
Mullen noted the missed tackles on defense, and co-defensive coordinator Geoff Collins said Texas A&M racked up around 300 yards of offense after missed tackles.
As defensive coordinator Chris Wilson noted, many of the players missing those tackles were guys who typically make them.
On the other side of the ball, Mullen said he isn’t concerned with the play of the offensive line, citing MSU’s low number of sacks allowed. He recognizes quarterback Tyler Russell has taken some hits, but Mullen said that’s to be expected. Quarterback hurries and the like are not stats which concern him.
“I look at sacks,” Mullen said, “because that’s where something went wrong. We’ve done pretty good with that number.”
Looking ahead to Saturday, Mullen knows it’s going to be another matchup in the trenches.
He also said his players see it as a game against “a team that has the same record we do.”
We’ll have more from MSU’s assistant coaches, and we’ll be chatting with a few players tomorrow evening. Until then, enjoy these video interviews from the afternoon.