At 1 p.m. today, Dan Mullen will hold his first weekly press conference. Mississippi State plays South Alabama on Saturday at 11 a.m. in the season opener. We’ll be live-reporting his press conference as it happens.
Updates to follow.
And he’s here. Football season is almost, somewhat, sort of underway. Let’s roll.
Mullen says this week, transitioning into game week, is what you work for. He’s interested to see how the younger guys handle their first real game week.
“It’s real. Now, it’s going on the field,” he says.
“Going into year eight for me as a coach, I’m fired up. I’m excited. Can’t wait to go run out of that tunnel,” he adds.
As for South Alabama, Mullen said he expects an exciting game and sees two similar teams who will be young at a good number of positions, both dealing with injuries on defense.
“Both teams are undefined right now, and both teams are going to find their personality,” he said.
Now, for the topic everyone was waiting to discuss:
Mullen says “I was hoping to be ready” to name a starting quarterback today, but he’s not quite there yet. “I’m waiting for the clarity.”
He said he’s not trying to be deceptive or misleading, he just doesn’t have an answer yet. Said that more than one quarterback will play, probably two in the first quarter. He said he’d hate to name a starter, have that guy go out for the first series, then the second guy comes in for the second series and does a better job.
The way he explained it, it sounds like one guy will get the first series, the next will get the second series, and then they’ll go from there. To him, it doesn’t seem to matter who gets which series, just who does better with it.
He reiterated that he wanted it to happen, wanted to have it decided, but it’s not yet settled. Needs real game play to do that.
The competition is down to two people, Nick Fitzgerald and Damian Williams, as expected. However, Mullen did say freshman Nick Tiano will get some reps, too.
He adds, “There’s a comfort level with both guys repping with the ones, so I don’t think it’s going to be an issue.”
As for the competition at running back, Mullen says Ashton Shumpert and Brandon Holloway “will get the majority of the reps” to begin with. Though he adds there will be plenty of reps to go around, also saying that special teams are a proving ground for young players like some of the running backs MSU has.
Asked which RB to expect after the veterans, Mullen went with Aeris Williams. Said he’s a good mix of Shump and Holloway’s skill sets.
Mullen on Dak Prescott becoming the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys: “He’s going to handle the moment well. He’s been in a lot of pressure situations … I’m just proud of him.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Mullen asked about the injuries at cornerback. He says that through training camp, the ones through threes had all had equal reps, so he’s not too concerned about guys not being ready.
Injury update, defensively, as well: DL/LB Will Coleman will be out the first two weeks with “a back issue” that popped up early in camp.
And that’s it for Mullen. Catch y’all later.