October 15, 2012 5:26:29 PM
STARKVILLE - Okay, yes - The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog asked Mississippi State University head coach Dan Mullen again about the atmosphere in Starkville now that his football program has accomplished the following six weeks into the 2012 season.
A top 15 ranking according to the Associated Press poll
A No. 12 Bowl Championship Series ranking
the school's third best start in school at 6-0, 3-0 in Southeastern Conference
tied for the third-longest winning steak in all of Division 1 college football
The Bulldogs have only trailed for 16 minutes, 11 seconds of the season so far (fifth-best in the country)
In Football Bowl Subdivision, MSU is one of 12 teams that remained unbeaten this season.
Here's what the fourth-year MSU coach said this time on the atmosphere surrounding campus and the fan base.
"For our guys this is a lot of what they expected coming into the season," Mullen said. "To be in this situation as a program, this is what we drill in our guys to expect. And you know, it's fantastic. You look at the goals that we've hit. We're bowl-eligible now for a third year in a row. This game gives you the opportunity for your third consecutive winning season. You kind of keep checking them off one game at a time within that focus. And its our goal as the year goes on, that late October and November you want to play in big games. And we're putting ourselves in position to do that."
The words "national championship" even came into into the conversation among the media reporters.
"It's out there, but to me I've done it enough, we bring up the words 'SEC championship'," Mullen said. "If we win the SEC West, and we're fortunate enough, then you have the opportunity to do something like that. I've said before, I tell the team, in my coaching career I've been undefeated once, and we didn't get the chance to play for the national title. I have two national championship rings, but my only undefeated season we didn't get an opportunity to play for it. That is completely out of our control, so to worry about something that you have absolutely no control over, it's useless. We do have control over winning the SEC West, though, and if we do that, I imagine great things will happen for us, and we'll be rewarded accordingly."
I'll have a feature on the talk and atmosphere surrounding this undefeated Bulldogs team as they approach this Homecoming game matchup against Middle Tennessee State University (4-2) this Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN2).
In other news, MSU senior right guard Tobias Smith was named Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week after his performance against the University of Tennessee in the Bulldogs' 41-31 victory. Smith was forced out of the game for two quarters after suffering an undisclosed injury to his knee in the first half.
I'll have a feature on the senior right guard's significance to the offense in Tuesday's edition of the Dispatch.
"He's always been a leader, not just on the field but as a group it's just great to have him around the locker room," MSU offensive line coach John Hevesy said. "It's a smile on his face and the fact that he's positive in everything he does."
- After he began his media conference, Mullen gave the media the injury report for the upcoming game against Middle Tennessee State but with no changes to it other than players being on it previously getting significant playing time last week like senior Tobias Smith, sophomore Malcolm Johnson and Marcus Green.
Freshman CB Cedric Jiles is out (broken hand)
Freshman DB Xavier Grindle is out for the rest of the season (torn ACL)
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