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MSU concluded its first week of spring practice with a full pads workout.
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Courtesy: hailstate.com

Defense Wins The Day As Football Wraps Up Week 1

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March 22, 2014
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Dan Mullen Post Practice Video

STARKVILLE, Miss. – The intensity continues to climb in Mississippi State spring football practice as the Bulldogs went full pads in the final workout of the opening week on Saturday afternoon at the Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex.

MSU spent much of the two and a half hour practice in team scrimmage situations. While the scrimmaging was a “thud” period without tackling, the Bulldogs did manage to get physical on tackling drills to start the day. With much of the week’s practice spent on installation, MSU was in shells Friday before picking up the pace on Saturday.

“I love the energy the guys have had on the field, the intensity they’ve brought and the work ethic that’s kept that intensity throughout practice,” said head coach Dan Mullen. “The first week is tough. You have a lot of installation. There are a lot of young guys that are still trying to get caught up and figure out what’s going on out here on the field, on both sides of the ball and combine them together.”

The squad used a point system based on plays made during team periods and the defense narrowly topped the offense. Both sides of the ball were efficient from quarterback Dak Prescott making plays to a Will Redmond interception. Josh Robinson, Ashton Shumpert and Brandon Holloway continue to get the majority of looks at running back.

Mullen said he was pleased with the first week and the leadership of his veteran club.

“You have some experienced, older guys and some pretty good leadership out there,” he said. “When you look at the make-up of a team, we have a bigger senior class of guys playing their last year of football that really take it to another level. You can add to that with some great, young leadership like Taveze Calhoun, Dak Prescott and Benardrick McKinney, you have the chance to have a pretty special team.”

The Bulldogs return to practice at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday. The Maroon-White Spring Game will kickoff at noon CT on Saturday, April 12 as part of Super Bulldog Weekend. For more information, visit www.HailState.com/SBW

Dan Mullen Post Practice Media Session
March 22, 2014

On the first week of practice…

“The first week is tough. You have a lot of installation. There are a lot of young guys that are still trying to get caught up and figure out what’s going on out here on the field, on both sides of the ball and combine them together. It’s tricky, and on two-a-days you don’t have pads. It’s really an introduction week. I love the energy the guys have had on the field, the intensity they’ve brought and the work ethic that’s kept that intensity throughout practice which I’ve been pretty pleased.”

On expectations of Chris Jones

“For us we evaluate every single detail. One, is if he is improving technically as a player. Talent will take you a little ways. He [Jones] did a lot of things that were bad last year. He [Jones] made some plays because he has some talent. If you want to be a great player you have to be technically sound in everything you do. That’s the opportunity to learn. The biggest part to me is seeing guys really come together fundamentally.”

On Dak Prescott’s leadership of the entire team…

“He’s [Prescott] got to be a leader for us. As a quarterback you have to be a leader on offense. I think he [Prescott] understands what we are trying to do. This is where you start to see him make that adjustment from learning to being comfortable in the offense.”

On retaining skills from spring practice in the fall…

“The biggest thing right now is being able to retain for what we’re going to do on Tuesday. The team has 72 hours off before we install anything else. They have 72 hours to digest and know what’s going on. There’s all different types of learning happening on the field. The older guys are really learning how to master their technique. They’re in graduate school level of football out here. Then, you have younger guys who are remedial and trying to figure out what’s going on. The key is that everybody takes what they’ve learned whether it be in your assignment or technique and never take a step back. You are at a certain level when you finish spring practice. When you come back in the fall, you’re there or better while continually improving. You learn how to become a great player.”

On the revamped offensive staff…

“Offensively we are trying a couple of new things here and there. Brian [Johnson] has been around me so he knows what I’m going to expect. All the other guys have been around so they know what they’re doing. It certainly helps that the other guys have been around each other for a long time.”

On keeping players engaged from practice to practice…

“It’s huge. We’ve talked to our players this spring about commitment to effort. A player that’s a senior may do a drill 5,000 times, but he continues to ask how he can do it better than ever. That’s the commitment to effort. As coaches you’ve got to tweak things. You’ve got to yell and scream sometimes, pat them on the back and celebrate at times. You’ve got to make one little change to a drill to make it interesting. To me, that’s important. Routines are good, but sometimes routines lead you to just go through the motions, and we can’t do that out here.”

On Devon Bell’s hang time improvement…

“I think he’s [Bell] just a lot more consistent. We’re not having him place kick right now. I think taking that off his plate and just letting him concentrate on punting has helped. The other day he [Bell] had a 49-yard average with a four or five second hang time. That’s what we want. Taking things off his plate has let him focus. We know he [Bell] has that talent. Letting that talent come through is going to be big for us.”

On Ferlando Bohanna’s status…

“When you deal with a head injury, it’s all going to be day-to-day. He did some stuff on the first couple of days. We wanted to see how he did without participating in contact. We’ll see. The plan is to have him out there participating in live football before the end of spring to see how he’s going to respond to that. He knows the coaching role. He knows with his health he will either be wearing the helmet or coach’s hat this spring, but he’s going to be a valuable part of the program. That’s really important to us.”

On this team’s differences and feelings compared to past teams…

“Every team is obviously going to be unique. You have some experienced, older guys and some pretty good leadership out there. When you look at the make-up of a team, we have a bigger senior class of guys playing their last year of football that really take it to another level. You can add to that with some great, young leadership like Taveze Calhoun, Dak Prescott and Benardrick McKinney, you have the chance to have a pretty special team. 

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