Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen watches from the sideline after his team scored a touchdown against Troy in the first half of a NCAA college football game in Troy, Ala., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. Photo by: (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
September 17, 2012 10:48:11 AM
STARKVILLE - Guess what? After time to digest and go over the film of Mississippi State University's 30-24 victory over Troy University Saturday night, Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen still isn't pleased with how his team looked on the road.
"I've got to see how our guys respond and see the look in their faces when they go out at practice to see the demeanor in which they take it," Mullen said. "I have a feeling with a lot of the guys that they're not going to be pleased with their performance. A lot of it was coaching areas to make sure we're putting our guys in good positions to make plays. Some of it was execution on our guys. They spread you out so much and one of the reasons they do that so well is to get you on one-on-one situations to make tackles. Those will be the stresses and when you're doing your job, you need to be exact."
Mullen was also obviously relieved to be the first school from a Bowl Championship Series conference to walk out of Troy's Veterans Memorial Stadium with a victory.
"I think that comes with a little bit of belief in our guys and during the trip home their were some guys disappointed in the locker room but by the time we got on the bus, their were some guys happy we had won the game," Mullen said. "It's hard to win games and you have to enjoy those victories. Our guys have had situations in the last two weeks where it could've gone the other way and both times we've found ways to make sure we did the things you need to do to win."
Some other nuggets gathered from Sunday's media teleconference are as follows:
- Mullen addressed the fact MSU is ranked 23rd in both major polls this week after starting the season 3-0 for the first time since 1999. The Bulldogs fourth-year head coach says his coaches and leaders will use it as motivation for this week's practices.
"I think within the leadership of our team that this can be a real positive," Mullen said. "We jumped into the polls and we did not perform at our best. I hope it's a real motivating factor for our guys to go out and turn it around. Hopefully we can use that as a motivating factor to do that so we can have a great week of practice."
- After having a career night with 180 receiving yards and three touchdowns against Troy, MSU senior wide receiver Chad Bumphis was still mad at himself for a dropped pass in the fourth quarter. The four-year starter from Tupelo said as much after the game that the seven dropped passes (which Mullen counted Sunday morning) were a sign of looking ahead of Troy on the schedule.
"He is really focused and wants to play well," Mullen said. "He's already called me to say 'I wasn't happy with the way I played in that first half and dropping that pass in the fourth quarter in a key moment. I think the biggest thing you see with him is maturity. He is expected when he is open to make plays and he did."
- However Mullen discussed the maturity and leadership of Tyler Russell, who had a bad looking 11-for-26 on the state sheet but a much more consistent night when you evaluate the dropped passes by MSU receivers, as he maintained his composure while his receivers clearly were having issues.
"That was a great learning (experience) for Tyler," Mullen said. "I thought Tyler played well all night long. He was making the throws and the plays he needed to make and guys were dropping the ball on him. I saw him one time getting mad, which I don't mad but I said to him 'hey, getting mad isn't going to make them catch the ball, go be a leader'. I like that he kept to his composure. A great read by him and is critical to him. He's not a dynamic running quarterback but he can run."
- Finally Mullen addressed what the depth chart and running backs coach Greg Knox said all preseason - LaDarius Perkins will be the primary ball carrier on this MSU offense after having the responsibility of the final two drives that put the victory away for MSU.
The Bulldogs even had sophomore Nick Griffin and redshirt freshman Derrick Milton get shut out of touches Saturday because Perkins was so effective.
"Because LaDarius got a bunch and was pretty good," Mullen said with a laugh when asked about Milton and Griffin getting no touches. "(Perkins) is the leader of that group. At key moments in the game, those are when your guys have to step up and Perkins certainly did in those situations."
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