Football
MSU Quotes: Mullen's press conference

MullenMullen

Sept. 15, 2009

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Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen met with the media on Monday to discuss the Bulldogs' upcoming matchup with Vanderbilt.

Opening Comments...
"Last week I was disappointed in our coaching staff as far as not putting our players in better positions to make plays. There was a couple times we did do a good job and we made some plays and missed some plays, but we still have to be in better position to make plays when it comes to game time. We have a lot of things to still improve on. Not winning is not acceptable, I don't like using the 'L-word.' That is not acceptable for us and when you don't come out on top that is extremely disappointing. However, last week doesn't change any of the goals we have for our team on the season, which are to come out and give great effort, play with a passion for the game and find a way to win the western division and compete for the SEC Championship. We will continue to strive for those goals. We just have to regroup as a team and prepare better as a coaching staff."

On the defense...
"We have some things that we are going to have to clean up. I think at times we were playing slow on defense. Give Auburn credit, they did a good job and kept our defense on their heels. But, we have to come after them and do a better job of applying pressure."

On injuries...
"Brandon Henderson is still rehabbing, and Tobias (Smith) is still doing the same, so we will know more as the week goes on."

On adjustments for Vanderbilt...
"Obviously, we are not going to go and make wholesale changes, but we are going to adjust our scheme for the game this weekend against Vanderbilt. I have not spent as much time watching Vanderbilt's offense as I have their defense and special teams, because I feel that is their two strengths of their team. What we are going to do as coaches is see where they are because different teams pose different issues for us. They are another team that runs a spread offense type offense with talented players and a good coaching staff. They are a veteran staff with a solid system implemented."

On applying pressure...
"We have to do a better job of sending more guys at the quarterback. I thought Pernell (McPhee) did a decent job of applying pressure to the quarterback, and some other guys did at times too, but as a unit have to be more consistent in applying pressure to their quarterback. Also, us as coaches have to do a better job of creating opportunities for our guys to get to the quarterback. I felt we were conservative at times against Auburn, with only a three-man pass rush, so we will have to do a better job of putting our guys in a position to apply pressure on the quarterback."

On driving the football...
"You cannot have negative plays and penalties. At the moment, we are not competing at a high enough level offensively to overcome mistakes and penalties. As the game went on, we became a little more aggressive and took some shots down field, and that loosened the guys up. Maybe we should have done that a little earlier and apply some pressure sooner on Auburn. We still have to clean some things up with our receiver and quarterback timing and a lot of those mistakes have to do with the fact that this is a new system with new guys. As we improve the passing game, it will allow us to keep more drives alive so we can overcome a penalty or missed assignment. We see our timing at practice every day improving, and as long as we continue to improve, it will allow us to hold onto the football longer and keep our drives alive."

On the quarterback rotation...
"I think it is a neat thing for those guys at times to stand on the sideline and view from a different angle what is going on, and them not being the one that is taking the snap. By rotating these guys, it really allows them to accelerate some of their learning."

On Leon Berry...
"He is doing a nice job of developing. Being an older guy, as a junior college transfer, it allows him to be a little ahead of everyone else. He is doing a solid job of continually working and improving for us."

On penalties...
"We do a lot to emphasize eliminating penalties. Part of it is mental toughness. Another aspect is that we are learning a new offense and we still have guys constantly thinking, and when you are thinking you are not reacting, which leads to mistakes. That was a big part of our offensive penalties. Hopefully, as our guys get more comfortable running the system, you will see a cleaner execution offensively."

On Anthony Dixon...
"He was good, I thought Anthony (Dixon) did a good job running the football. I would have liked to more evenly distribute the carries among our running backs, and I think we will see that more in the coming weeks to keep a good balance back there. We need to find our offensive rhythm and when you do that, I think naturally you start to disperse the football a little more equally."

On Chris Relf...
"I thought Chris (Relf) was very remedial in his knowledge of the quarterback position and reading different coverages and those type of things. I also thought he was very erratic in throwing the football. He never threw the football the same way twice. He would just grab the football and throw it, he had no developed form to it. Chris has really worked hard to improve on all those things. He is better at reading defenses and a better quarterback overall now than he was when we first arrived."


 

 

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