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Monday Talk with Dan Mullen - Both QBs Dak Prescott and Tyler Russell are still 'day to day'




Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE - Dan Mullen truly wishes he had better news about his quarterback's injury situation. 


The Bulldogs fifth-year coach said the report from his training staff isn't any different than the day before with both sophomore Dak Prescott and senior Tyler Russell listed as "day-to-day". 


"I'll let you be as frustrated as I get sometimes by giving you my trainers response that 'everybody is day-to-day right now'," Mullen said. "It's kind of like the weather report isn't it? There's a 50 percent chance it'll rain today." 


Senior quarterback Tyler Russell got his fifth straight start of the 2013 season and the Bulldogs fifth-year signal caller finished the 20-7 loss to No. 1 Alabama Saturday night 15 of 24 for 144 yards and one interception but was forced to leave the game with a reported shoulder injury late in the fourth quarter. 


Prescott was ruled inactive by Mullen after suffering a severely pinched nerve in his left arm in the loss last week at Texas A&M. None of the quarterbacks were made available to the media Monday but Prescott was seen coming into the Seal Family Football Complex to get treatment on the players day off. 


Mullen said Monday it's situations like this week that make his staff glad they decided to get freshman Damian Williams action in September against Alcorn State and Troy. 
"Sometimes you sit there and scratch your head, and wonder 'boy would you like to play Damian at all this season'," Mullen said. "At this point it's looking like that was the right decision. I give him a lot of credit for us to say to him in that situation 'go get it big guy'. The stage wasn't too big for him." 


Williams, the former three-star product from Louisiana, finished 0 for 5 and was sacked once while leading the final two unsuccessful drives in the contest. 


Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said his staff is preparing for all three quarterbacks as the Bulldogs (4-6, 1-5 in Southeastern Conference) travel to Little Rock this weekend (11:21 a.m., SEC Network) to play a struggling Arkansas (3-7, 0-6 in SEC) team. 


"It could be anybody," Bielema said Monday. "Whoever plays they are going to be good  and they are going to execute. I don't really know what to say other than whoever is back there, I don't think the plan changes all that much in the execution of what we are going to do. 


Mullen joked in his Monday media conference that "he had a pretty good night throwing the ball and loosening up" he was out at practice Sunday throwing passes with the depth being so slim at quarterback. 


"They're getting treatments today and we'll see if they'll get better but that's all the information I have on the subject so far," Mullen said. 




Here's some other tidbits to Mullen's Monday media conference: 




- Mullen evaluated Arkansas (3-7, 0-6 in SEC) and noticed that in his first season Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is playing a lot of young talent - 76 underclassmen, including 19 true freshmen, have made starts for the Razorbacks this season - and therefore caused a lot of mental mistakes to happen in their six Southeastern Conference losses. 




"They have some extremely talented guys with two very talented running backs and a big, physical offensive line," Mullen said. "They have run it on everybody. Defensively they play good defense but have been bit a lot on big plays this season." 




- Mississippi State is 0-9-1 all-time against the Razorbacks in the state of Arkansas, posting a 0-6-1 record in Little Rock where Saturday's game will be played and 0-3 in Fayetteville. Mullen talked briefly about what makes War Memorial Stadium a difficult place to play. 




"I think anywhere on the road in the SEC is a tough place to play," Mullen said. "I think a lot of that is the passion of the fan base. You're going to Little Rock in a loud, hostile environment and our fans did that for us Saturday night against Alabama. Helps you in recruiting." 




- Mullen talked briefly about the media speculation of "the hot seat" 




"You always have to completely block that out," Mullen said. "Like one question is always 'Are you on the hot seat?' Well, I hate to break it to you but if you're coaching in the Southeastern Conference, I've been on the hot seat here for five years. Go over to Tuscaloosa and ask, you might not think so but wait till they lose a game. If we had won on Saturday night, he'd be on the hot seat. You're about a game away in this league. The passion in the SEC more so than anywhere else make it that way, maybe except in the NFL but you can still lose six games in the NFL and win the Super Bowl. You lose six games in this league, look out. That just comes with the territory. You have to accept that as coaching in the SEC. The thing that it's tough on is families. Will's kids have to go to school. My wife has to go to the grocery store. Bret's wife goes out to dinner. In this league, your families are out in public a lot more and that's a huge stress. With say Kevin (Sumlin), I'll put it this way: you're either on the way out of the door because you're winning or you're on the way out of the door because you're losing. If you're Kevin, you'd rather be on your way out of the door because of winning. With people's opinions of me around here, I've had both and I'll take the winning. And I'm still here and plan on being here for a long time." 




- I asked Mullen about his similar personality with Bielema that they both like to verbally needle rival schools and have done so in their first years in the SEC: 




"To survive as a head coach in the SEC, you better have some confidence," Mullen said. "I think I'm a pretty, shy and introverted person and other people that know me think it's the exact opposite. I think when you come in and you're trying to put your personality into your program. People often say to me, I don't needle as much The School Up North as much as I used to but I have changed that but I'm not new and they already know what we are and more established. Bret isn't going to change who he is and the football that he's going to coach. Three years from now, it'll sound a little different to everybody. Everybody has their own deal." 




- Mullen was asked to evaluate redshirt freshman kicker Evan Sobiesk after he missed a 23-yard attempt in the second quarter against Alabama. MSU has made just one field goal in its last five games (1-of-5) and are just 7-of-15 on the year. 




"I was more disappointed with his extra point than his field goal to be honest and it might sound crazy," Mullen said. "He hit the field goal clean (paused) he just aimed the wrong way. He had great height, explosion but it was a kicked dead straight. The PAT was a little more shaky even though it went through. With Devon and Evan, when they get it 100 percent on their technique and confidence, we could have some of the best kickers in the league." 




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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