Live thread: Dan Mullen press conference, Kentucky week

At 1 p.m. today, Dan Mullen will meet with reporters for his weekly press conference. Mississippi State beat Louisiana Tech 45-20 last weekend and hosts Kentucky on Saturday night in Davis Wade Stadium.

Live updates to follow.

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GTSEFWBBYZFDBTD.20150913031107And he’s here.

Mullen says the game this weekend is important because the team talked about needing to sweep the three-game homestand they’re in the middle of now. Won the first two, now they’ve got UK before an off week and traveling to Missouri.

As for UK QB Patrick Towles, Mullen calls him a “total-package player” who showed last year against MSU how good he is.

Mullen said Towles is comparable to Louisiana Tech QB Jeff Driskel in terms of skill-set, so it perhaps helps a little to play those guys in back-to-back weeks. He said they both have strong arms that make you think they can stand in the pocket and deliver, but then they are able to move and be mobile, too. Presents a tough challenge.

On defense, Mullen said UK lost some players from last year’s team but that it doesn’t show. New guys have stepped right in and kept making plays.

Mullen echoing sentiments from last year, saying a little bit of a rivalry develops with your permanent SEC East crossover opponent. Mentions some “close, exciting games that seem to come down to the wire every year.”

“You know that team,” he said. “You know each other. It brings a little different edge.”

Injuries: WR Fred Ross is “good to go.” TE Gus Walley will be a late-week decision. WR Gabe Myles, RB Ashton Shumpert, S Jamal Peters and WR Joe Morrow “should be available” this week, Mullen says.

The bad news comes in linebacker Dez Harris who tore his ACL, his second-season ending injury in as many years.

As for development of the team this year, Mullen says MSU is “a lot different” now compared to where they were going into LSU back in week two. Specifically, Mullen says players are much more comfortable, particularly the young players who are on the field a lot.

“I think we have a little bit more identity of what our team is this year at this point,” he says.

Mullen says freshmen running backs Dontavian Lee and Aeris Williams are starting to learn what it takes to be an SEC running back.

“Protect the quarterback and protect the football. Those are the two most important things to do,” he says.

His key for them is that it’s OK to make mistakes, but also they have to learn from them and not make the same mistake again.

Asked about the slow starts defensively, Mullen says he and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz have talked about. They think part of the problem is the young guys struggling to immediately adjust to the speed of the game and get into the flow of the game.

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