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MSU football fall practice report No. 4 - Bulldogs completes first practice in shoulder pads




Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE - - Mississippi State University football coach Dan Mullen likes his offensive line heading into the 2012 season.  


As long as no injuries of course.  


"If we're 100 percent healthy, I feel good about it," Mullen said. "The problem is we do have some depth but with some of the youth that's there does make you nervous." 


The fourth-year head coach suggested Sunday after his team's first practice in shoulder pads Sunday that the youth in the backup roles on the offensive line that simply may not be ready to play anytime soon in the Southeastern Conference. 


"I'd love the youth to be in a backup role this year instead of being forced into a starting role," Mullen said Sunday. 


In Saturday's split-squad practices, MSU still has some question marks as to starting positions heading into the Sept. 1 season opener vs. Jackson State (6 p.m., Fox Sports Net). 


In Monday's edition of The Dispatch, we examined the concerns of the offensive line depth in the lead of the MSU football notebook.  




In other news to filed under things Dan Mullen wants us to believe but were unable to verity ourselves:  




- The Bulldogs are headed to the farm, the practice field near the MSU Vet school Tuesday and moving into the hotel rooms as a team tomorrow.  


"Training camp should be the greatest time of the year, you know. They're kind of like NFL players in a way, right?," Mullen said. "They don't have to go to school, they don't have to worry about other things, we feed them and give them places to sleep. They have nothing to worry about except football, and that's why you want to see guys love it." 




- Mullen continued to express desire for backup quarterback and redshirt freshman Dak Prescott to push projected starting quarterback Tyler Russell for playing time. The redshirt freshman will see action early in the season and Mullen was adamant that the former three-star player should be ready to be the starting quarterback if an injury should happen to Russell. 




"There's the two aspects - one is getting the mentality of a guy who is a redshirt freshman ready to be our starter because, you better have two starting quarterbacks because you're a play away from him having to be the guy," Mullen said. "So he has to have that mentality, but also that mentality of knowing that he's going get in the game either way, that there will be a package for him. I think he knows (that) and I think that can make you a little bit more relaxed knowing that you're going play and knowing that you're going play doing things that you do well. I think he'd be a little bit more nervous if he knew he was going be the starter game one, which he might still be. We've got a lot of practices. You never know, Tyler could trip out of the slide coming out of the shower today. As crazy as it is, those injuries occur. So, there's the chance that that happens and he always has to keep that mindset. I think it helps him knowing going in that he's not taking a backup mindset, he's taking a mindset in, 'I'm going to get some playing time, so I got to make sure I'm ready to play." 




- Mullen did say he thinks his MSU team is "much more athletic" than when he arrived in Starkville to take the job a little over three years ago. However, the athleticism and talent is more focused to the youth of the team and may not be translated into a breakout 2012 season for the Bulldogs.  




"I look back to year one when if first got here to now (and) I think we're much more athletic than we were then," Mullen said. "Now, it doesn't mean we're going to be better football players. We've got to make sure we're better football players as well. That's important too." 




All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.



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