Live-blog: Dan Mullen press conference for Southern Miss game

At 1 p.m. today, Dan Mullen will hold his weekly press conference. Mississippi State plays Southern Miss on Saturday to open the 2014 season.

Updates to come.

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He’s here! Let’s get rolling.

Mullen is running through what makes the game exciting: 100 years of Scott Field, expanded Davis Wade Stadium, record crowd, first Saturday night game on SEC Network and an in-state rivalry game. Lot going on, for sure. He’s pumped.

“It’s something special to start the season with a rivalry game like this.”

Mullen says the possibility of getting USM back on the schedule was one of the first things brought up to him when he was hired.

Talking some more about flexibility on the offensive line, Mullen says MSU had started to feel good about having a two-deep at every position before Damien Robinson’s injury. Still close, and he says it helps that so many of their guys can swing to a different position on notice.

Asked what USM brings to the table, Mullen says, “I’m sure winning their last game of the season last year has bolstered their confidence.” Complimentary of head coach Todd Monken.

Mullen also likes the defense of Southern: “They’ve got some solid players on that side of the ball.”

He likes the rivalry, as well.

“On the national level, probably an underrated game. But on the local level, people have been looking forward to this since 1990.”

Mullen says QBs coach Brian Johnson will be in the box on gamedays. John Hevesy and Billy Gonzales both on the sidelines.

Mullen says they work on so much in training camp, but now it’s game planning and they trim down what all they’re using and specifying their plan for the opponent.

Mullen asked about trick plays and Jameon Lewis, says it doesn’t matter so much that people have seen it.

“It’s not what you run, but when you run a trick play … The key to a trick play is when you do them … I think our personnel gives us the flexibility to do that.”

Mullen said part of what makes it so easy and comfortable for guys is that they have a lot of people who were quarterbacks in high school. He mentioned that Gabe Myles, Lewis’ backup, was a QB in high school, just like Lewis. Interesting.

More on the offense: Mullen says so much of what they do, especially with tight ends, is about getting mismatches. Having some faster than the big guys or bigger than the fast guys, whatever it may be.

Asked to compare ‘rivalry’ to Egg Bowl, Mullen says “There’s no game that’s gonna be like that for us. Ever. That’s just something that’s different.”

Nice note from Mullen: Only one player on the current roster was alive when MSU-USM last played in 1990. TE Rashun Dixon was one month old.

Back on the offense, Mullen says Dak Prescott has relatively significant freedom to change calls and check into something different on the line. He’s comfortable with it, but will always ask the QBs “Why?” no matter if it worked or not. Just wants to make sure his guys are making the right decisions for the right reasons.

Mullen says kickers Evan Sobiesk and Westin Graves are “about a kick away from each other.” Says both may kick in the opener Saturday.

On team captains Malcolm Johnson, Jay Hughes and Dillon Day, Mullen says “they show what the program is all about.” Adds that 26 different people got votes for captain.

I can agree with this: Mullen says the players are ready to get in their game-week routine. Says that veterans will help the young guys in doing so.

 

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