At 1 p.m., Dan Mullen will hold his weekly press conference with the media. The Bulldogs lost 51-41 to Texas A&M and will play Alabama this Saturday in Starkville at 6:45 on ESPN.
Live updates from Mullen’s chat to follow.
Mullen calls playing No. 1 Alabama “A great opportunity,” which is about as positive as you can look at it. Says their defense “leads the nation in just about everything” and “they have a great offense.”
Says MSU’s players are excited about the game.
More on their talent: “They’ve got five-star players sitting on the bench and not even getting reps.”
Mullen talking about the difference in style of Texas A&M and Alabama, saying the preparation is very different. They made sure to drink a lot of water and stay hydrated and loose for A&M, now they’re taking a lot of ice baths and getting their bodies ready for physical Alabama.
On true freshman wide receiver De’Runnya Wilson, said that A) he made a lot of plays in fall camp and B) he got some good matchups against the Aggies and took advantage of them. Mullen added that he and Ray have a great relationship.
As far as Wilson’s multi-sport future, Mullen says conversation about playing basketball or not will come with him and Rick Ray after the season.
Injuries: Deontae Skinner will have an MRI (neck/spine) today to find out availability for Saturday, Dak Prescott is questionable. Will know more Wednesday on both.
Mullen is talking a lot about confidence and “team belief” among coaches and players. Saying it’s continuing to grow, that at A&M they thought the whole game they were going to find a way to come back and win. Said it’s something that grows, naturally, both with success and experience.
On punting, Mullen says Devon Bell came in as both a kicker and punter, and that his punting took a step back when he won kicking job last year, but that this year his punting took a big step forward. Mullen said over the course of the weeks, he was consistently the best-charted punter in practice, said he has a knack for pinning teams inside the 20 and he wanted to utilize that.
On special teams miscues last weekend, Mullen takes the blame for them. Said the good news is that they are things they can correct. Also pointed out the good parts, saying MSU had a couple good returns and several good punts and kickoffs, but those few bad plays are what can ruin a game.
Mullen: “It’s hard for me to yell at our defense, because our goal against A&M was to stop the run. And we did. We held them below 100 yards rushing and that hasn’t happened a whole lot since Johnny Manziel’s been there.”
On Chris Jones: “He doesn’t have to make the sack for us to get a sack, or make the tackle for us to get a tackle … He’s very conscientious about fundamentals … Sometimes the best thing he can do is get a double-team … He really understands that.”
If Prescott can’t go, Mullen says he’s plenty with comfortable. Added, “He’s done a good job of running the ball this season. He’s a different runner, but he’s an able runner … he has toughness. he’s not gonna shy away from contact.”