FILE - Historical statistics suggest Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen has been based more in the run than the pass in his coaching career.
September 4, 2013 6:25:38 PM
STARKVILLE - The collective attitude of at least some MSU fans go something like this: "Hey, where is this passing game we were promised from Dan Mullen?"
The answer is two-fold: 1) It may have went away thanks to inexperienced wide receivers and the temporarily concussed head of senior quarterback Tyler Russell.
2) Well, you may have never been promised the passing game when Dan Mullen came to Starkville. Sorry.
The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog looked into the issue for a feature in Thursday's edition of paper (please go pick up a copy) but here's the basis of the conclusion: While it's true to suggest Mullen is a "offensive oriented coach" as he suggested Monday in media conference, that doesn't suggest he loves to throw the football as fans may have been led to believe.
Here's some statistics to chew on to support this topic (yes, those darn facts that keep getting in the way):
Dan Mullen - Offensive coordinator
Year/ School (record)/ Conference ranking
2001: Bowling Green (8-3) - PASSING (5th of 13), RUSHING (6th of 13)
2002: Bowling Green (9-3) - PASSING (8th of 13), RUSHING (2nd of 13)
2003: Utah (10-2) - PASSING (5th of 8), RUSHING (4th of 8)
2004: Utah (12-0) - PASSING (2nd of 8), RUSHING (2nd of 8) - NOTE: NFL No.1 pick Alex Smith was the team's second-leading rusher with 631 yards, 4.7 per carry, and 10 touchdowns.
2005: Florida (9-3) - PASSING (3rd of 12), RUSHING (5th of 12)
2006: Florida (13-1) - PASSING (5th of 12), RUSHING (3rd of 12)
2007: Florida (9-4) - PASSING (4th of 12), RUSHING (3rd of 12)
2008: Florida (13-1) PASSING (5th of 12), RUSHING (1st of 12) - NOTE: Florida led the SEC in rushing with 231.1 yards per game, 45 yards beyond the next highest conference team in Ole Miss.
Dan Mullen - Head Coach
Year/ School (record)/ Conference ranking
2009: MSU (5-7) - PASSING (11th of 12), RUSHING (1st of 12) - NOTE: MSU led the SEC in rushing with 227.6 yards per game. The next highest SEC team? Yup....Florida.
2010: MSU (9-4) - PASSING (10th of 12), RUSHING (2nd of 12)
2011: MSU (7-6) - PASSING (6th of 12), RUSHING (5th of 12)
2012: MSU (8-5) - PASSING (7th of 14), RUSHING (10 of 14) - NOTE: The worst a Mullen-led offense has finished in rushing after just 144.2 yards per game.
The fan unrest has also fallen on the shoulders of MSU offensive coordinator Les Koenning for the lack of successful play calling Saturday in the 21-3 loss to No. 13 Oklahoma State.
11 days after being introduced as MSU's 32nd head coach in program history in 2008, Mullen hired Les Koenning as his offensive coordinator to assist in the offensive philosophy he wanted to create in Starkville.
Mullen has kept Koenning as his offensive coordinator every season and despite relative flip-flopping between the two on the play-calling duties, both men have said publicly the long-term development has been good for both sides.
"I think you know philosophically it is that match," Mullen said. "I'm more of an offensive-minded head coach and a quarterback-oriented head coach, so you have to have somebody in that position that you're going to meld well with."
Koenning had previously spent five years on the Texas A&M staff, serving as offensive coordinator and working with the quarterbacks. He has spent 10 years of his career coordinating offenses and calling plays, starting in 1998 at Duke University before stops at the University of Houston (1999), Texas Christian University (2000) and University of Alabama (2001-03). Only three signal callers of those programs in the nine years produced a quarterback under Koenning with a 2,000-yard season (Alabama's Brodie Croyle in 2003, A&M Reggie McNeal in 2004 and A&M's Stephen McGee 2005-07).
"I've known Coach Mullen for a long time and our offensive philosophies are very similar," Koenning said according to the school's release.
And so what can MSU fans expect this weekend in the Bulldogs home opener vs. Alcorn State University as sophomore Dak Prescott likely makes his first start at quarterback? Mullen said Wednesday in the SEC media teleconference that you can expect to see well, more of the same play calling.
"We're just going to run our offense. Dak's obviously going to run it with a little different flavor than Tyler runs it, a little bit more athletic of a guy. Schematically we're not going to change a whole lot."
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4. A Stone's Throw: Beware COLUMNS