Mullen coaching corners, Tyler Russell healthy and other notes from the first Gator Bowl practice

Dan Mullen: cornerbacks coach?

Well, it’s not a permanent position, but the head coach spent some time working with the corners at Mississippi State’s first Gator Bowl practice Thursday, helping out safeties coach Tony Hughes who is directing the entire secondary this week.

Mullen, of course, has been an offensive coach throughout his career, but he said this isn’t new for him.

Over the course of the season, he goes to different position groups and works with each room, including, naturally, the corners.

“It’s not totally foreign to me,” Mullen said about working with the corners some.

In fact, Thorpe Award winner Johnthan Banks said he likes it. Constantly picking the brains of offensive-minded people, Banks enjoys getting the perspective of a former quarterback and offensive coordinator.

We’ll have more on that soon, both Banks’ curiosity and Mullen’s foray into defense.

A few other notes:

I talked to Chad Bumphis, who was injured for the 2010 Gator Bowl. I said last time he was on the sideline, then he quickly corrected me with a laugh.

“Coach Balis had me and Marcus Green running the stadium and doing laps around the fields,” Bumphis said. “This is much better.”

Tyler Russell looked A-OK in the little bit of practice we were allowed to see, moving fine on his ankle. He said afterward he’s good to go.

In a bit of sad news, but not nearly as bad as it could’ve been, Mobile, Alabama native and junior linebacker Chris Hughes’ home was damaged by the tornadoes which came through, but luckily, no one in his family was hurt.

Left tackle Blaine Clausell is also from the area and said his family was extremely fortunate and emerged unscathed, both house and people.

Today was the first real practice, the “Monday” practice in full pads, Mullen said, and the Bulldogs will be back on the field tomorrow afternoon.

As I post this, the team is eating enough food to feed an elementary school at their beach party, with volleyball coming up soon.

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