VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT: Mullen And Assistants Speak At Media Day
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen held his preseason press conference Tuesday afternoon in the Bryan Athletic Administration Building to discuss the upcoming season. To watch the full video, click the play button in the box above. To watch the assistant coaches video, click on the box on the right.
PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
"We are excited to get back out practicing getting ready for this season. This is what we do it for. We have so little opportunities with these guys. Our players are excited to be on the field, our coaches are excited to be back out there. This makes it the best time of year for us. The way our calendar works for the next two weeks is the only time of year where we are playing football with nothing else to worry about. There is no school; the only other opportunity you get like that is bowl prep. I think this is a great time of year for our players where they can concentrate on nothing but football. Trying to become the best they can be out there on the field and they can continue in the program to be a championship level program. I am excited about our fan base; hopefully we can continue our sellout streak this year. It looks like we sold out season tickets and I also saw the return tickets from the opposing team and I'm sure we sell those out and continue everything in the direction we're going in. I think the excitement around the program right now has never been higher when you look at the ticket sales, the plan of stadium expansion and the new football facility we move in to right after the year. It's going to be pretty special. Walking through it is unbelievable; it will be the premiere facility of the Southeastern Conference, if not the nation. I'm really excited with everything going on."
"We're getting there. I still think that we are getting close. Obviously, we have guys leaving early to go first round in the NFL Draft. That's the good thing that shows the direction where the program is headed and the talent. We're recruiting here in Mississippi and the players know they can come here and play for us the in the state and have great things happen to them. That's always one thing that sets you back a little depth wise because we try to plan two or three years out with depth in recruiting to keep that balance. We're deeper than we have been since I've been head coach; when the two's come on the field you don't see a significant drop off that have have seen in the past."
On Practice today:
"It's always great (on the farm); I think some young guys figured out because they have never been there. They didn't know where to go, what it is like, looking for shade when there is none out there. I think that first reaction when you change it out there. I think that got a little more rain. It's a little bit soggy today but I think for us it's that mindset there is no school - it's just football time training camp. I love being in a different location for training camp then our normal locations. Being out there at the farm makes it feel different."
On his first recruiting class:
"There is a couple in the NFL now. It ended up being a pretty good recruiting class. The expectations of the guys and how they panned out ends being a huge deal when you look back and see who we hit on and who we missed on. Is it a trait is it something we missed in recruiting where this guy turned out even better than we thought he would be? Was it a certain personality, a certain drive that allows him to succeed in our program and vice versa? Why did someone not succeed? We try to evaluate that in recruiting when you go forward. Well he can run a 4.3 in high school; he still ran a 4.3 while he was here but he wasn't successful, so what were the things that made it different. That first class had a lot of potential from Mississippi and a lot of them have had very successful careers and we hope will continue to have successful careers. We still have a few of these guys this year and a few for the following year still."
On recruiting class character:
"We put huge emphases on it. I think we have been okay we go back and evaluate the character issue you have hit and missed on. Some people look at the character issue that have been missed on guys that have maybe had legal issues or guys that have gotten in trouble that's not the only character issue we look at. We look at the work ethic, that's a character issue for us their desire to get a degree and graduate and to do the right thing on and off the field even though they might not really get in trouble they might not do bad things when they walk out of the building are they all into our program. We continue to evaluate these things. We've hit a lot, a lot more than we have missed. I think our coaches do a good job of finding out about the people they go after as best we can the exposure you get some time to these kids and the limitations you have especially to the head coaches to judge people character when you get to go visit them off campus one time sometimes you can miss some character issues."
On Senior Leaders:
"You look at successful teams and the seniors play their best not just in the leadership role but in how they perform and how they play every day I think we have some guys that give us solid leadership that are seniors which is fantastic but we need the entire senior class to have their best season if we are going to have a successful year that is an important aspect of senior leadership that they don't just lead and do things the right way its easer for the seniors they know what to expect at the training camp. They have prepared themselves during the off season they are in great shape they are not gasping for air after plays they have prepared themselves for the season but it's going to be their leadership a lot depending on their performance as well are they performing on the highest level of seniors."
On recruiting in Mississippi:
"For us our coaches we try a lot to recruit kids from the state of Mississippi we try to get in every high school and evaluate the players that are in this state. High school coaches appreciate that they can call us and get their kids evaluated and looked at by us. We have nothing against Rival, or Scout, or 24/7 or anybody but we are not taking their evaluation we are doing our own evaluation on these kids and wither your newspaper evaluations them we trust ours. We have our own Dandy Dozen list we have our own five stars."
On Johnthan Banks:
"Watching him on film he did everything. I like guys that do everything we guys do everything on film and he doesn't just do it in football it's also basketball and baseball but a guy that can play receiver, running back, quarterback plays all over the place on defense in my mind as a high school coach I say this is my best player I make sure I spotlight him on the whole team. Wherever the actions going to be I will make sure to have him in the middle of it because he is our star player but those are the guys you want I want the star player I want whoever the high school coach feels is his best player we want to evaluate him and go after him and if he is big enough and fast enough that we think that he can play in the SEC that's our type of guy and that's something that John Banks is. He did it all and that is something that to me that I liked as a ball player and ball players will find a way to get on the field for you at some place."
On Chris Wilson:
"He does a really good job. Chris is a guy that we are very fortunate to have. He was coaching at his Alma Mata near his home where he was raised and when I had the chance to meet with him he had the chance to look at the opportunity and look at the direction our program was going in and he thought hey this is a good opportunity for me to grow and the great that Chris has done is grow as a coach since he has been here and that is something you always want to see none of us have all the answers and I think his is one of the guys that have came in here and taken on the role from being co-coordinator to being coordinator and how it affects everything and how he has to deal with the players. you have to deal with players outside of you position group at times as coaches you get so locked in on your guys then when you become a coordinator you have more guys and you have the opportunity to be a head coach and have all of them. That development as a coach and I understand that he has really embraced that development and continues to improve himself and put himself in the position to be a head coach some day. If you look at our coaching staff I think sometimes the players take on the personalities of their coaches and the coaches sometimes take on the personalities of the players. We want to be a team that when you turn on that film you say that is a team that gives relentless effort that is a team that goes hard for 60 minutes and more if they have to on Saturday you come watch us practice and that's a teams that flies around the field that the attitudes we want our coaches to have and that passion that he has out there on the field that's what we want everyone to have."
On Tyler Russell:
"I'm really pleased because Tyler is much much better than he was last year at this point. The defense, the decision making and throwing the football everything he needs to do he has really improved from last year to this year. And the interesting this is and the nature last year he was in a competition this year he is going to be a starter. You would think this is the time you could take you foot off the gas if you wanted to cause I'm going to be the guy but he has actually continue to speed up and prove himself that to me shows he has what we need and a winning attitude that he is going to continue to work to be the best he can be."
On both Quarterbacks ...
"One we have to get them both on the field. You look last year we had two quarterbacks that played eight games to the desperateness to get them both on the field early was not as high. Maybe it is now, we only have one quarterback on the roster that's taking a snap is Tyler Russell so we can be a play away in practice where we could not have a quarterback so we need to have other guys ready not just now in development but as the season goes on. Early in games in meaning situations, we have got to put Dak Prescott on the field so he can understand how to play and what it is like to be out there in the spotlight on a game day."
On what has improved and depth...
"Time will tell where we are. If you look we had a guy drafted first round and Alabama had four and over the past couple of years. We had two years where we had first round then middle round guys. As you keep looking a few years ago that means when we had Fletcher Cox we had as a backup we had good depth not that he was very much a backup but he is a guy that went first round at one point was coming off the bench for us I don't know where they are (LSU, Alabama etc,) but they are looking at multiple, multiple first rounder. A great example to me is that you look at Alabama their Heisman trophy winner guy come off the field and the guy behind him gets drafted higher that to me is some pretty good depth. I had that at Florida with Tebow, Newton and Brantly that was dept and good room. We're getting there. When I think about depth across the room I think the one place I see it the most is Special Teams. That is a great area where I judge depth because you are looking for guys who are guys that can play Special teams at the speeds you need to in the SEC. If you want to try and save some starters and get a couple guys that can be play maybe sixty reps of defense and I want to be able to give them a breather during kickoff even though that's one of the most important plays of the game. I have a guy that I feel very comfortable on the field with. As we are feeling out the Special Teams depth chart there are a lot of names feeling up all the spots and so I think that helps an awful lot across the board. I think we brought this year on purpose I don't know how many we will contribute this season but we have more Linemen at camp this year than I've ever had as a coach. If you combine twenty two offensive Linemen and nineteen defensive Linemen at camp that's more than I've ever had anywhere as a coach and that's fantastic. How many are we going to contribute, I don't know as we're building depth to the future there is an awful lot of guys getting depth."