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Bye Week Tuesday - Mullen on 4-0 start: 'it's almost like this was expected'




Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE - Since a 4-0 start to a football season hasn't happened at Mississippi State University since 1999, it was about time to get the head football coach's thoughts on the matter.  


With this week being a bye week for the No. 21 Bulldogs (4-0, 1-0 in Southeastern Conference), Dan Mullen has done some promotional speaking stops around the state the last couple of days getting a first-hand look at the excitement starting to build around the MSU program. 


"It's almost like this was expected," Mullen said. "I would've said four years ago, if we'd have started 4-0 then the feeling would be a lot different than starting 4-0 right now. I think people have come to 


think 'okay it's what we what to do for a team?'. This is where I planned us to be. I was planning on being 4-0 and the fan base of our people are a similar way." 


MSU junior tailback LaDarius Perkins, who was placed as an addition to the Doak Walker Award watch list today, said Tuesday after practice he is getting a lot of comments while going to class but is trying to avoid the hype that could surround this team if they stretch the winning streak to 5-0 or 6-0.  


"I always try to make sure I don't let it go to my head because I feel like we still have a lot of things we still have to achieve and we still trying to accomplish our goals for the season," Perkins said.  


Later in the week, The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog will be doing a feature comparing all of the elements (on the field and off the field) of the 1999 team with this current version of the MSU squad. 


"We've certainly put ourselves in a position to take that step," Mullen said Tuesday. "We've got an opportunity with a lot of football left to be played. Now, people aren't going to let us just take it. We're going to fight for it." 




Some other nuggets gathered from Monday's media conference are as follows: 




- The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog asked Mullen about how he is handling the bye week and it sounds like the answers from the players, that it seems like the veterans are getting a lot of time off during 11-on-11 work while coaches focus on the young players down the depth chart in a similar way to the first week of bowl game preparations. 


"Today we went a longer practice than we normally do on game week," Mullen said. "When we go live reps, there's a bunch of guys that aren't taking live reps this week. They're going to do individual, they're going to do pass skill, they're going to do some of that group work. We go live 11-on-11, we're going to force a lot of other players to go earn more reps on Saturday and show what they can do." 




- After he began his media conference, Mullen gave the media the injury report for the next week at University of Kentucky: 


Freshman CB Cedric Jiles is doubtful (broken hand) 


Senior DT Devin Jones is questionable (sprained shoulder) 


Senior OG Tobias Smith is questionable (knee) 


Sophomore TE Brandon Hill is probable after playing last week against South Alabama (ankle sprain) 


Freshman DB Xavier Grindle is out for the rest of the season (torn ACL) 


Sophomore TE Malcolm Johnson is now questionable (pectoral)  




And....yes - we in the MSU beat writer group did ask about the health of junior quarterback Tyler Russell and Mullen brushed off the questions with "he's fine".  




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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