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SEC Talk with Dan Mullen: On LSU defense - 'I'm trying to figure out who they lost'


Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen during a 62-7 victory over Troy Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen during a 62-7 victory over Troy Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium.



Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE - The classic picture can already be envisioned.  


It starts with Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen staring at the video of LSU's defense in the film room of the Seal Family Football Complex...with the alka selzer and Pepto Bismol by his side. The Bulldogs fifth-year coach, who is 0-4 in his head coaching career vs. LSU, has been watching the Tigers defensive unit coached by John Chavis and doesn't see any difference now from the previous units in past years that have been Top 3 in the Southeastern Conference in the last four years.  


"They look as big, fast and physical as they always are," Mullen said on the SEC teleconference Wednesday morning. "I'm trying to figure out who they lost because it looks like they've got a lot of talented guys still out there on the field." 


LSU (4-0) is currently third in the SEC in total defense and has seven sacks in four games against TCU, UAB, Kent State and Auburn. The Tigers are second in the SEC in passing defense at 173.8 yards per game and Mullen thinks they'll get tougher in closer games as league play begins for them.  


"They have backups on their team that are four and five-star recruits right there," Mullen said. "I think some of (the yards disparity) is that their offense is putting up a lot more points and they're in game situations where they're way out in front and playing some young players." 




Here's some other noteworthy items of Mullen's teleconference appearance: 




- Mullen spoke about senior left guard Gabe Jackson, who was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after the 62-7 victory over Troy Monday. The honor is the first of Jackson's career and he was the first MSU player to earn the weekly offensive line award from the league since Tobias Smith on Oct. 13, 2012. 


During Saturday evening's victory over Troy, Jackson was credited with five pancake blocks. He helped MSU to 62 points, tied for the 13th most in program history and the most since tallying 66 against Tulane on Oct. 22, 1994. The Bulldogs also recorded 45 points in the first half, the most in a half in the modern era (since 1950), and their second-most ever behind 49 in the second half against Murray State on Nov. 2, 1946. 


"He's had a great year for us so far," Mullen said. "He's a guy that has started every game that he's been for after his redshirt freshman season. He's continually improved. He really works as a professional." 




- Mullen was asked if he saw the possibility of making any changes with the kicking game as sophomore Devon Bell is 6 of 13 from field goals between 30-39 yards and the first word out his mouth was "No". Walk-on kicker Evan Sobiesk has three extra points and a converted 24-yard field goal against Troy this season.  


"Those guys are still working out there," Mullen said. "Every day we chart every single kick and punt. Those guys know that. Like any position on the field, we evaluate throughout the week of practice who has had the best week of practice. We look statistically who's going to give us the best opportunity in the game." 




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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