Dan Mullen press conference: 9-16

At 1 p.m. today Dan Mullen will address the media in his weekly Monday press conference. We’ll have live updates here, or you can watch the streaming video at HailState.com.

Mississippi State hosts Troy this weekend, with kickoff at 6:38 on FSN.


Alright, Mullen’s here. Let’s do it.

Mullen says “it’ll be a big challenge for us this weekend with Troy. Obviously, last year was a very, very exciting game.”

He says the Troy offense can put up a lot of points and can do it in a hurry, plus the Trojans have confidence having played well against MSU before. “It should be fun.”

Mullen on Auburn loss: “If we made one play in that game, then we had all the answers.” Says wins are never as good as you think, losses are never as bad as they seem.

“Emotionally, it makes you feel a lot different,” but says correcting mistakes is the same. “We’re gonna see how guys come out to practice today … You have to respond to that type of loss with a desperate desire to get back out on the field.”

On running backs not getting as many carries (because Prescott had 22) Mullen says, “We may have to go high-tempo. We have a lot of guys we need to get the ball.” Said it somewhat jokingly.

“We want to make sure playmakers touch the ball.”

Mullen did say Tyler Russell is “full-go” for practice today. Prescott currently listed as starter on the depth chart.

Mullen: “The perception is we didn’t play good defense. At times, I thought we played very good defense.” Said the problem was a couple big plays were corners slipped, plus a few missed tackles.

“I never thought tempo became a problem during the game,” but said open field tackling “was where we lacked this week.”

More on the defense, Mullen said, “We were stopping the run game really well. When you have a team like Auburn that wants to run, that messes up their flow and what they want to do.”

More Mullen on Troy: “They can really throw the ball … They’re gonna come in and try to spread you out, throw-first mentality.”

Mullen on his nation-leading 12 fourth down attempts: “We’re a young team and we want to get that mindset … If I want us to have an aggressive approach to the game, we have to be aggressive as coaches.”

Continuing on the fourth down talk, Mullen says it’s a good way to build confidence in players.

Interesting to hear Mullen talk about last year’s game against Troy and a bit more about this year’s Trojan team. Says their quarterback is active NCAA passing leader. Torched MSU last year when the Bulldogs “gave up an enormous amount of yards” to him. Interesting match-up coming.

If Tyler Russell is cleared to play (he hasn’t been yet), Mullen says he will choose starter based on “gut instinct.” Even if cleared, is he still sharp? “Anyone’s job is up for grabs,” Mullen says. Nothing is given or assumed.

Mullen: “I think the team is starting to develop their personality right now. This game this week will be a big test in developing that.”

Mullen on Auburn: “I was extremely upset after the game, our players were extremely upset after the game, and I think that’s a good thing. For what happened, I liked the look and the emotion and the feeling the guys had. That’s the response I want in that situation, though it’s not the situation we want to be in … there were a lot of guys that were devastated. They wanted to win that game. They were upset about losing.”

“I wanna see how we respond today, because today is gonna be even more critical.”

Injuries: Ferlando Bohanna is still out. Dee Arrington is questionable with a hamstring. Nickoe is the same, expected to keep playing. Says Bohanna should be back after the bye-week and he’s assuming Russell will also be full-go at least by then, if not this week.

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