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Courtesy: Mansel Guerry

Transcript: Dan Mullen on SEC Coaches Teleconference

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October 03, 2012
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STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State Head Coach Dan Mullen appeared on Wednesday's SEC football coaches teleconference call with the media, highlighting the Kentucky game, the play of the secondary in 2012 and more. To view the transcript, read below.

Opening comments...

"We've had the opportunity to get a little rest coming off a bye week. Sometimes bye weeks help and sometimes they hurt, and I guess we will find out on Saturday which one of the two it is for us. Our guys are getting back into the routine of game week right now and are getting ready to play an SEC game."

On his expectations of Darius Slay when he signed him in 2009...

"When we singed Darius we knew he was not going to qualify. It was a definite that he was going to junior college when we signed him, so we knew he would have to go down that route. We knew he was an athlete, but we weren't sure whether he would be a corner or a safety. Once we got him here on campus, we realized he had the athleticism and ability to play corner. I think the thought was he wasn't going to qualify when we signed him, but we wanted to place him in junior college so we could get him here down the road."

On his secondary going against two freshmen quarterbacks...

"It is still a challenge because these guys throw the ball all over the place. We got to see one of their quarterbacks last week throw the ball a lot and throw it pretty well. I've seen the high school film on their other quarterback and he can really throw it. It is still a big challenge, especially against a team that schematically wants to throw the football a lot. They have talent throwing it even though they are not experienced. That is what makes it a big challenge for us."

On what makes his secondary unique...

"As far as corners go, John Banks has great length. I think he is one of the taller cornerbacks out there and has played a bunch of football for us. He is a tremendous leader, is a great player and has a great attitude and work ethic. That is what makes his special. Darius Slay has been surrounded by so many great players since he arrived on campus, and I think it has taught him to have a great work ethic and take his talent to learn the skills that he needs because he had a short career here."

On Tyler Russell being calm in a hostile environment...

"I don't think environments get to him, whether it is home or away. I think it is more about who we are playing, what our game plan is and how the game is going sometimes that can skew some stats on people. I do think Tyler has been in tough situations since he has been here, and I think he actually started the game last year up in Kentucky. I think being on the road in those environments doesn't get to him. He is going to take care of his business."

On whether on not Tyler Russell has comfort level against Kentucky following last year's big game...

"I don't know if it gives him a comfort level or not. I just know that he is not as pleased with how he performed in the last game against South Alabama and he wants to play better. I think he is comfortable wherever he goes and is very critical of his own performance. I don't know that just going up there makes it any easier for him. He has been up there before and has gotten experience playing in a lot of stadiums around the league. I don't think the atmosphere is going to affect the comfort level for him."

On the lack of sacks from the defensive line...

"Three of the teams we've played feature that quick passing attack where they catch it and throw it. It's tough to get to their guys because of how fast they get it out of their hands. When you play those teams you end up getting a lot more coverage. Most of the pressure we've gotten on the quarterback was in the Auburn game because it was a more traditional offense. We play more of the traditional offenses as the season progresses, and I want to judge and see if we are getting the pressure that we need."

On the transition of Denico Autry...

"He is coming along and still developing. I think guys come in out of the junior college ranks and a lot of times you just see what they can do. We haven't put him on the field as a pass rushing specialist or any of that stuff. He is an every down starter and plays every play of the game for us. I think everybody looks at the stats and says that he is going to come in and be a pass rush specialist, but that is not the case. He is our every down player, so I think that transition from junior college to the SEC is big, but I think he has done a very nice job of it and stepped on the field and played very well the first couple of games."

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