STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen holds his weekly press conference Monday afternoon in the Bryan Athletic Administration Building. Free on-demand video of each week's press conference will be posted in the story rotation (main and football pages only) on HailState.com.
Dan Mullen Press Conference Transcript - 10/15/12
"This week is a homecoming game, an evening game and a big game for us. I loved this past week. I think our team played with a lot of intensity, and a lot of that has to do with our fan base. They did a lot for us. I know it was an SEC game. Going back to our last game a couple of weeks ago, which was not an SEC game; at home...we just really need that home field advantage. With South Alabama coming out in the second half, we came out slow, and the stadium was slow. We can't play that way as a team. We need our fan base to have the same energy that we have and to give us that advantage. I think that is going to be really critical and a challenge on homecoming-to give us that great home field advantage. This is a good team that knows how to win on the road. They won a nail biter on the road where they blew out Georgia Tech. They know how to win in these types of games. Obviously, it is going to be a big challenge for our guys. We're going to need great leadership from our guys and serious focus. For a lot the younger guys, this is their first time in a situation where we're dealing with adversity of success. But a lot of the older guys have been in similar situations, so we need their leadership to come through and continue to have the maturity to focus through a long football season.
There is nothing new on the injury front. We got out of this last week with bumps and bruises. The report for this week is very similar to that of prior games. The guys that are out are out, and the guys that are in are in."
On Tobias Smith's offensive momentum
"I think that he just brings some leadership into that huddle. He has a very different demeanor. When you watch the film, you don't point your finger and say 'boy it was the right guard that helped move the ball in these series.' There are several different factors involved in it. He comes out in the second quarter and we don't move the ball, and then we get a holding penalty. After that holding penalty, we realized that we weren't going to score. Third quarter, we come and we were just sloppy. We misread and ended up getting a sack and getting behind the chains. But here is a guy that didn't play much last year. He didn't go through spring and minimally he was held out of winter conditioning. Minimally summer training and was still voted as captain by his teammates. It shows the kind of respect he has with him team. I think in the huddle he uplifts the play of everybody around him.
On Jonathan Banks being a program-builder
"He stepped in as a leader. Sometimes, I think it's a tough job for a guy to play a lot as a freshman. When Jon got to come in, he had to worry about playing. He had Jamar Chaney, he had Derrick Sherrod, he had Anthony Dixon-he had leaders. He comes in his sophomore year, he had Pernell McPhee and KJ and those type of guys leading. I think last year we lacked some of that outspoken vocal leadership. He didn't have to be a leader. Even though he was on the field a lot, he didn't have to be that uy. Sometimes, those leaders develop through those guys that are leading their group. Jon was surrounded by the other leaders and he was being led. This year, I think the mindset that he came back with was that, "I want to be a great player and I want to lead this team and do great things for this program-not just for me as an individual player." That's where he really stepped it up, and he backs it up. He backs it up with his performance in practice. He backs it up with how he carries himself and his work ethic in the weight room and training. He backs it up with his performance on game day.