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MSU practice report: Dan Mullen coaches WRs personally in practice




Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE - Dan Mullen spent his first practice since classes begin on campus coaching the wide receivers personally Tuesday.  


Mississippi State University fourth-year head coach Dan Mullen personally took over the position group following Angelo Mirando's resignation this weekend.  


"We did a lot of blocking drills with me today," Mullen said. "I think the fact that we have a mature group helps." 


When asked by reporters Tuesday evening how the sudden resignation of MSU's wide receivers coach, less than two weeks before the start of the regular season, affects the plan going forward with that specific position group, Mullen wasn't completely sure how it would unfold in the future.  


"We have an immediate plan, a short-term plan and a long-term plan," Mullen said. "I want to have a short term plan figured out by the end of the week. The short-term plan and the long-term plan could be a combo plan." 


Mullen suggested whatever his "short-term plan" is to solving being one coach down this season could be the hiring of a graduate assistant working with the receivers. This plan was be similar to when Mullen gave the responsibility to Mirando during preparation for the 2011 Gator Bowl and then promoted him to full-time assistant shortly afterwards. 


"(We) might have a short-term fix that turns into a long term fix or a short term fix that last through the season," Mullen said. "We're going to figure that out over the next few days." 


Mullen said Tuesday the message to the rest of the assistant coaches is to still concentrate on their position groups and responsibilities as if nothing has changed for them.  


"Brett Elliot, our graduate assistant, was working substitution and all working with them when we go 11 on 11, he's getting guys on the field," Mullen said. "What I'll be able to do now, we've got time. You're not in game plan week right in the moment. Tomorrow we'll watch today's film and make corrections." 


When pressed on the issue of if Mirando could be accepted back in the coaching staff, Mullen said "anything is possible in this world" but wouldn't comment any further on the situation. 




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


- Mullen was "disappointed" with how the younger players came back from the two-day break and weren't as mentally sharp with their execution throughout the practice.  


"You can just see the maturity factor in what comes in," Mullen said. "You can see the younger guys are a little sluggish, and I'm kind of disappointed. They shut down and it showed today. Instead of physically shutting it down and mentally picking it up over those (two) days, and really grinding through their notes, playbooks, scheme. So it was a little big sluggish and sloppy at times today. And we've just got to keep them in that rhythm." 




- Mullen said the return game doesn't change much with seniors Johnthan Banks and Chad Bumphis being in charge of leading kick and returns for 2012.  


"Our two punt returners and our two kick returners are returning this year so there's a comfort level in the short-term of stuff," Mullen said. "I do like some of the younger guys coming up. Whether they do the job this year, with the experience or not, like (Brandon) Holloway, (Cedric) Jiles and (Xavier) Grindle do some good jobs in the return game. Now again, are they going overtake anybody, we'll see over the next 10 days." 




- Mullen said the coaches have begun their gameplan for Jackson State with less than two weeks until the season opener Sept. 1 against the Tigers (6 p.m., FSN South).  


"I've looked at more of the defense than the offense a bit. You're looking a pretty good football team that had nine seniors and two juniors on defense. It's always a challenge when you get in a week one. For us, we're going to be breaking in some new guys and they're going to have some guys that played here four years ago." 




- Mullen said MSU has kept defensive tackle Dwayne Cherrington and fullback Sylvester Hemphill on scholarship. Both players were former walk-ons and Mullen confirmed their one-year renewal packages were renewed before fall classes began this week.  




- MSU will continue to form its scout team units this week as they return to the practice field tomorrow and we're expected to hear from MSU players for the first time since the Saturday scrimmage and the end of fall camp.  


"It's learning how to practice (and) it's learning how to give great effort," Mullen said. "We might do one non-padded practice at some point this week, so that next week when we do our Thursday non-added practice they're not completely clueless on how to practice without pads on." 






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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