At 1 p.m. today, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen will meet with the media for his weekly press conference. The Bulldogs beat Auburn last weekend and travel to play at Texas A&M on Saturday. Shortly after, we’ll talking with senior quarterback Dak Prescott.
Live updates to follow.
Sticking on Auburn, Mullen says MSU came out very healthy and a lot of positive moments to build on. Feels good about where the team is now.
Looking ahead, Mullen expects “a loud crowd, a raucous environment” at Texas A&M and the biggest stadium in the SEC.
He believes A&M has one of the best QBs in the conference and “probably the best defense we’ve played so far.” Credits the speed on defense.
As for that A&M defense and coordinator John Chavis, Mullen said he expects them to be aggressive and that their athletic defensive ends and talented man-coverage corners “really plays to his strengths.” Adds, “they can get you in a hurry. The talent they have that he came into at A&M really helps with his strengths.”
Mullen on A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin: “Offensively, we have the same philosophy, even though we go about it in different ways.”
More specifically, he said both teams are about match-ups and getting the ball in the hands of explosive playmakers. Mullen thinks A&M does a good job of creating advantageous matchups.
As for his own team, Mullen got a bit into the run vs. pass, saying part of the disparity in numbers has to do with teams trying to stop the run, as well as the lack of total offensive plays MSU has had through four games. Several games with relatively low number of possessions and plays.
“I like to pass,” he adds.
As for varying types of games, Mullen says he’s comfortable in both an offensive shootout or a defensive battle.
“Our offense knows their job is to score one more point than the defensive gives up. Our defense knows their job is to hold the other team to one less point than our offense scores. It doesn’t matter to me which way it goes. I’ll take winning 42-41 or 3-2.”
Talking about defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and his strong redzone defense, Mullen says much of it is “just the aggressive style of play. He does a great job of getting you out of rhythm and taking away what you want to do … If you can get into longer down and distances, it’s hard to get the ball in.”
As for the Auburn win and the SEC race going forward, Mullen said the road victory was huge for confidence within the team.
“For our guys, that was a big game. I’m sure everyone wants to win the SEC West undefeated, but that doesn’t happen very often. Once you start hitting two losses, early in the season, that’s harder to come back from … That win keeps you going in that direction.”
On WR De’Runnya Wilson and his propensity for big performances in big games, Mullen says: “He’s a tough man-to-man matchup because he’s got size and ball-skills.”
And now it’s time for Dak Prescott.
First question comes about A&M’s athletic defensive line. He says the most important thing is for him to be on the same page as the offensive line and know what they’re thinking. Adds, “and really on the road, the cadence is important. We’ve got to make sure they’re not getting a jump on us.”
Knowing a shootout could possibly be coming, Prescott says, “As a quarterback, I go into every game wanting to put up 40 or 50 points … As long as we win, it doesn’t really matter.”
Prescott on De’Runnya Wilson: “1-on-1 coverage, I’m gonna take Bear over anyone in the SEC or in the country.”
On pass vs. run differential, Prescott says his running has slimmed because of his knowledge of the game and ability to move through his reads.
“I still need to get running a little bit, just to add it to the offense, but as long the passes are there I’m going to take it.”
More on the offensive line, Prescott says they communicated very well against Auburn and “if we can keep doing that going forward, we’ll have success.”