October 20, 2013 12:55:32 PM
STARKVILLE - Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen says he sees a completely different Kentucky than he's faced in past now that new coach Mark Stoops is in charge.
Kentucky (1-5, 0-3 in Southeastern Conference) comes to Starkville Thursday night for a primetime ESPN matchup at 6:30 p.m. local time. The Wildcats haven't beaten Dan Mullen since he took over the Bulldogs program with their last victory coming in a 2008 game in Starkville where Randall Cobb, in his first college start, led UK to a 14-13 win. However, Mullen has seen many changes Stoops, a former defensive coordinator at Arizona and Florida State, has brought to the Kentucky rebuilding project in his first season as a head coach.
"Anytime you take over a program there's that excitement in guys believing in what they're doing," Mullen said in his weekly media teleconference.
Mullen said offensively Kentucky has shown much more "explosive" plays as the Wildcats are 13th in the SEC in total offense but have already faced the top two SEC programs in total defense (Florida and Alabama) this season. The Wildcats already have 25 plays this season of 20 yards or more as compared to 39 the entire 2012 season.
"I'm sure they're making adjustments to their red zone stuff so they're probably not scoring as many points as they're putting up yards so that makes them scary because they are moving the ball on just about everybody they're playing," Mullen said.
Here's some other tidbits to Mullen's Sunday teleconference
- Mullen said he's confident the injuries in the 2013 season having kept his staff from knowing what kind of team he has but "we're having to adjust on who is actually going to play from game to game".
- However, the injury update was less than extensive as Mullen mentioned the season-ending injuries to Jay Hughes, Gus Walley, Justin Malone and Ferlando Bohanna and then added "we'll find out later this week to see who can go".
- Mullen said he gave the players the weekend off to rest before a short week before the Thursday night game as typical of a bye week.
"For (the players) it's about coming back focused and hopefully a little bit fresher in their bodies."
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.
4. Out and About for the week of March 1, 2015 ENTERTAINMENT
5. A Stone's Throw: The veil COLUMNS