At 1 p.m. today, Dan Mullen meets with local reporters for his weekly press conference. Mississippi State beat South Carolina in the SEC opener at home last weekend and travels to LSU to play Saturday night.
Live updates follow.
And he’s here. Let’s get rolling.
“Looking back, I’m pleased with how last Saturday went, especially the first half,” Mullen says. “I thought we played Mississippi State football.”
His definition of that was 11 people running to the football on defense and the offense being able to run well.
He said the second half wasn’t as good as he would like, but knows the lightning delay played a factor. Said he was proud that they did make the plays they had to make.
On LSU, Mullen is praising their wide receivers and “they’ve got probably the best running back in America” in Leonard Fournette. Says he sees a team that doesn’t have a lot of holes and has great personnel on both sides of the ball.
On the injury front, Mullen says it will be “close” on senior LB/DE Will Coleman returning from injury this week. Says he’s “explosive” when healthy.
Asked about maintaining the intensity and high level of play, Mullen says “I guarantee I’ll bring the intensity every day in practice. As the leader, I’ve got to set that standard … It’s up to me to maintain that.”
Now talking quarterbacks, Mullen said there was no pressure or looking over their shoulders for the guys in the preseason, but after game one, the staff wanted to let Nick Fitzgerald know early that he was the guy so that he wouldn’t be worried and could just go out there and play. Mullen mentioned Saturday that he considers Fitzgerald the starter going forward.
Moving toward LSU, Mullen said the goal is for Fitz to correct whatever mistakes he made, while knowing that he probably will still have more mistakes going forward and “that’s fine. Let’s move on and not make the same mistake again.”
Mullen liked the way Fitzgerald made reads on his runs Saturday as he set the single-game record for yards rushing by an MSU quarterback. Mullen said they weren’t particularly dynamic runs or situations where he made a bunch of guys miss. They were just good decisions where there was a chance to get some yards on the ground.
“Nick’s a different style runner than Dak was, so it’s going to be a little different,” Mullen says. Thinks Fitz is faster, more explosive, but not as physical.