September 30, 2013 5:12:08 PM
STARKVILLE - Whether it's eating grass or the specific hat that he wears on the sideline, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen stopped short to say the strange stories of Les Miles' mannerisms were a act.
The Bulldogs fifth-year head coach did say however, he doesn't let that comic book character image of Miles and his program distract him from the disciplined nature LSU plays with on both sides of the ball.
"I think he's a very good coach," Mullen said. "I think he's got a lot of personality. I think sometimes that can come off in a different way."
Mullen, who is 31-24 in his head coaching career, even suggested Monday in his weekly media conference that his mannerisms might be a bigger deal in a bigger media spotlight.
"We all have our quirks," Mullen said. "I chew my gameplan (the laminated play sheet) sometimes. I wear a visor so I guess I have my quirks. You look at the success he's had, obviously to be in this league as long as he's been, it shows the type of coach that he is."
LSU goes into the contest with a 20-1 mark under Les Miles in games following a loss. Only once in nine years under Miles have the Tigers dropped back-to-back games, that coming in 2008 against Ole Miss and Arkansas.
In his career at LSU, Miles is 54-4 against unranked teams and Mullen is 0-8 all-time against Top 10 ranked opponents. LSU has won 13 straight and 20 of last 21 against MSU. The last time Mississippi State beat LSU came in 1999 when they posted a 17-16 victory in Starkville.
"There's not a chance that we'll be looking ahead," Miles said Monday. "(MSU) is a program, like most college programs, when they get to the end of the week, they really need to have victory. The work they put in is so significant, this will not be a difficult week for us to get our eyes open to how quality the opponent is."
LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger has already surpassed his touchdown pass total for last year. In 5 games, Mettenberger has tossed 13 touchdown passes, one more than he threw in 13 games a year ago. His 13 TD passes rank second in the SEC and seventh nationally. Mullen remembered having him as a high school prospect to his football camp at the University of Florida and thinking he was an elite talent five years ago.
Mettenberger is coming off a 44-41 shootout loss at Georgia where the former Georgia quarterback threw for a career-best 372 yards on 23-of-37 passes with three touchdowns.
"Don't mistake this - they still are a power running team," Mullen said. "They have two NFL wide receiver with a NFL quarterback with a big arm that can get them the ball. It's a dilemma of how do you stop the power run and then make sure they're not getting out to the perimeter. When you leave them one on one, they're very dangerous in the pass game."
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