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Sunday Talk with Dan Mullen (Nov. 11) - MSU's priority No. 1 this week vs. Arkansas is QB Tyler Wilson



Matt Stevens


BATON ROUGE, La. - Mississippi State University head coach Dan Mullen again cited the little mistakes against a quality opponent that led to the 37-17 loss at Tiger Stadium against Louisiana State University.  


The Bulldogs (7-3, 3-3 in Southeastern Conference) dropped out of both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches poll after the loss. All three losses for MSU have come against opponents ranked in the Top 10. 


Since I'm traveling back to Starkville today, I thought I'd just give you the full transcript of what Mullen had to say and let you chew on that this Veterans Day.  




Here's is the full Q&A transcript as Mullen addressed in the 8-minute conversation with reporters Sunday afternoon:  




Opening statement: "There's no surprises in football really. You play hard and our kids played hard to put us in a position to win the game and when you make critical errors and you don't make big plays then you're not going to win. Their kids made big plays and our players had opportunities and didn't. This week we have a challenging opponent that is has a tremendous amount of talent and preseason Top 10 for a reason. All of those guys are still on the football team. They have premier quarterback (Tyler Wilson) in the SEC and a guy that's probably going to be a top player in the NFL Draft." 




Q: Do you spend more time with the defensive staff this week with all the coverage breakdowns the past three weeks? 




"I spend time on both sides of the ball. We're not in at this point a situation where we'll change our routine of how we do things. I'll do what we do and make sure we do a better job of coaching it through and making sure everybody on the same page. It's communication and everybody being on the same page. it can be an awful lot of things. Against hurry-up teams, we could not be getting the ball in fast enough. There could be confusion in the call from the linebackers to the defensive front. Then it could be guys just doing the wrong thing and one guy making a mistake on a missed assignment. Teams will take advantage of that." 




Q: At this moment how well do you feel about LaDarius Perkins playing this week? 




"Obviously when you're dealing with a muscle injury you never know but I feel pretty good. It was a decision that we thought he might be able to play and it was a decision we made right before the kickoff that he would not be 100 percent. One of those things where playing with it could make it worse. A lot of guys that are beat up, if you play with it - it can't get any worse. We'll let them go this week. He could've made it worse so we decided to hold him. Our trainers have said, and he's pretty adamant that he's playing this week, but the training report will decide how close he'll get." 




Q: On MSU's success on 3rd downs offensively? 




"I think (Tyler) saw something where audibled (on that 3rd and 2 where he tried a QB sneak) to that on his own. A bunch of plays he audibled for us were big plays. A couple of them that weren't and that is part of our confidence in him. We give him some reigns and he probably wouldn't have done that one. He made some big plays and you live with that. We had some opportunities and the two 3rd and shorts that we missed on are disappointing." 




Q: On similarities in 3 previous games vs. Arkansas? 




"The issue number one is their quarterback seems to always have a career game against us. You go into a game and to their credit they have NFL style quarterbacks and they another one this year. When he is on, he's probably one of the top picks in the NFL Draft and the best quarterbacks in the country. We have to do a great job of making plays against him. Just watching them on TV, I see a team with a tremendous amount of talent and they've been in situations and had some tough breaks all year this season. There's a lot of team that have tough breaks but when they play their A game, they have Top 10 talent."  




Q: On the breakdowns in kick coverage? 




"We've put some different guys out there with the opportunities to make plays. In a lot of that stuff and a lot of things in special teams, you can pinpoint one guy misfitting a gap and getting out of position to make a mistake. When you do that against the talented teams that we play, you're going to get yourself in some trouble. We had a couple opportunities to make tackles inside the 10-yard-line and missed them last night. When you miss that first one and there's a great athlete with the ball in his hand, they have the opportunity to do something special with it." 




Q: Did Devon Bell's pop-up kick at the end of the first half have anything to do with protecting your kick overage or was that all time and score? 




"We were going into the wind at that point. Actually we executed that kick perfectly. LSU fair caught it at the 28-yard-line and that's what we expected them to do. We came out later in the game and kicked it deep to them so that was more of a timing deal than anything else." 




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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