Bulldogs Go Through Two-a-days at "The Farm"

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Photo Courtesy of hailstate.com

STARKVILLE, Miss. – The intensity in Mississippi State’s football preseason camp continues to rise as head coach Dan Mullen put the Bulldogs through two practices at “The Farm” on Wednesday.

Monday was the squad’s first chance to work out in full pads away from the Seal Complex. That was followed by the camp’s first two-a-day Tuesday, increasing the squad’s toughness and endurance.

“They know what it means to be out there,” said Mullen. “[They have] the attitude our guys take that you have to attack it out there. You can’t find shade out there at any point during the day. There’s not one angle that the sun is going to be out that will provide any bit of shade on the field. So it’s that mental toughness that they learn out there. They know that is how they have to fight through it [practice]. It’s going to make us stronger.”

MSU will practice once Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before another two-a-day on Saturday that features a partial scrimmage. The new national SEC Network will be on hand with the Bulldogs Thursday and Friday, filming segments for an all-access show that will run later this month.

Below are quotes from Mullen’s Tuesday media session:

On the first couple practices on the farm …

“[It’s] great. It’s great to be back out there. I think for our guys it’s a different mindset when you get out there; it’s the real training camp mindset. This is the time of the year to come together as a team and for guys to develop and focus on what training camp really is about. It’s different for everybody, whether it’s working technique, learning the whole system and learning mental and physical toughness. All of those different things are incorporated out there. Being such a different setting, it’s so different than any game week or anything else. I think it’s easy to focus that way.”

On maintaining intensity for veteran players at the farm …

“They’re ready to go. They know what it means to be out there. [They have] the attitude our guys take that you have to attack it out there. You can’t find shade out there at any point during the day. There’s not one angle that the sun is going to be out that will provide any bit of shade on the field. So it’s that mental toughness that they learn out there. They know that is how they have to fight through it [practice]. It’s going to make us stronger.”

On defensive coordinator Geoff Collins’ ability to recruit and develop linebackers …

“[It’s] looking at intangibles for those guys. Some of them have great length and size. Other guys just have dynamic speed out there on the field. He’s done a really good job of identifying those type of guys and putting guys in a position where their strengths are being highlighted.”

On the freshmen so far …

“They’re all working hard. Right now, they’re all just trying to learn. I think, overall, it’s a really good group. I tell our guys that for me, you catch my eye for doing the wrong thing because I’m looking at everybody. I can see when you mess up.

“If everybody kind of does their job, I’m good. I guess, in that way, I don’t notice as many freshmen. I think they’re fitting in, trying to learn, grasp and adjust to the system. But, as a group, overall, I think they’re pretty solid.”

On having four scholarship quarterbacks …

“It gives everybody a little more rest, and they don’t have to get as worn down at practice. They’re going to be pretty fresh as they get through it [practice]. I’ve had that [four quarterbacks] before in my career. What we do is talk before in meetings about who is getting what reps, not just at quarterback but every position.

“When are certain guys getting reps with the ones? When are guys getting reps with the twos, threes and fours? And, I don’t mind moving the quarterbacks around that way to put them in the situation to see their leadership. If they have to go down a group, does their leadership step up? If they have to step up a group, do they play to the level of that group? It’s a good testing to see where they’re at majority wise.”

On Damian Williams this year in comparison to last …

“He came in last year as a guy that was probably going to redshirt and learn. All of a sudden, he was out there playing in critical moments in games at the end of the season. I think that has changed his attitude, knowing he is a snap away and knowing that in what we do in developing quarterbacks that he is going to play no matter what. He is going to get himself ready so that when he gets his opportunity on the field he is going to go shine.”

On redshirt freshmen …

“I think they have a little bit of understanding. I think last year they came in there and had no idea what was going on. They’ve been hyped up in recruiting so much that they think they’re going to win the Heisman Trophy as a freshman. Then, all of a sudden they get here and there’s a crash.

“So then there’s a psychologically counselling of them. The ones who are mature grasp it fast and realize it might not be their year. But then, they start feel—and we want them to feel—that desperation that they can’t redshirt anymore. We want them to feel like there is no time, my clock is running and I need to get out there on the field and go play.”

On Jocquell Johnson

“[He’s] doing great. Doing great. Obviously, he’s maybe a little ahead than if he had not come here in the spring, but not much because he never got a rep. He’s just trying to get caught up and all of that stuff. I like the way he looks, but he’s got a lot of learning to do.”

On mental expectations from Dak Prescott

“For Dak [Prescott], it’s just all about decision making, the processing of information. That’s something to constantly be working on. When I work with Dak, I know he’s going to have good leadership skills. I know he’s going to be tough. He knows what we’re going to be doing.

  On special teams …  

“I’m still very involved in the special teams, but it really allows me to breathe and not be in a panic as much. Part of doing it is being comfortable with the delegation of other things. I’m a little bit of a control freak.

“And, [it’s about] becoming comfortable with delegating a lot of other responsibilities and to see that I can still be heavily involved. But, I don’t have to be the one doing it. I think that has really helped me out, and I think [special teams coordinator] Greg [Knox] is doing a great job.”

On John Hevesy and Billy Gonzales being co-offensive coordinators …

“Basically, it’s them taking care of a lot of the little details, all of the details of things that need to get done. There are a lot of little things. You’re checking and marking from every script to make sure you have ran every play against all the looks you need it ran against. There are a lot of little tedious things that go into that. It’s great that we’ve been together and those guys are very responsible to take care of that stuff and get that done.

“It really allowed me the ability to try to get in with the defense some, not that they need me over there but to go celebrate and get some juice with the defense and have some fun at the field too. It allowed me to be the head coach and not specifically locked into one position”

On Richie Brown

“Last year as a redshirt freshman, he knew he was going to play but not sure how it would all fit. Going into this year, he’s a starter. As I view things, a starter is a guy who I am going to feel great about being in the game and is going to play as many reps as anyone else. [It’s] not the guy that plays the first play of the game, as I have told everybody.

“There is a lot of confusion between who plays the first play of the game and who plays the most plays. I think he understands that role now that he and Benardrick [McKinney] are co-starters. They’re both going to play a whole lot. I think that’s a lot more comforting. For preparation, when you know what’s going to happen and what the result is going to be, it’s easier for you to prepare.” 


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