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Mullen: 'Pathetic' morning practice


By Matthew Stevens, [email protected]



STARKVILLE -- Allow Mississippi State offensive coordinator Les Koenning to properly describe his team''s practice Monday morning. 


"It wasn''t good," the 53-year-old coach said. "We didn''t execute, and if we executed there was always one person doing something wrong." 


Koenning''s assessment came minutes after his boss, MSU coach Dan Mullen, used the word "pathetic" to describe the workout, saying it was "probably as bad an offensive practice as we''ve had since my first year here." 


"My wrath will come out more if it''s not cleaned up this afternoon, I promise you that," Mullen said. "You can make a little bit of a mistake here and there, but you''d better have it cleaned up by this afternoon." 


Koenning said the coached didn''t install a new system, but all three units of offense made basic mistakes due to lack of mental focus on the fundamentals. 


"It''s not like we''re splitting atoms out there," Koenning said. "We''re calling football plays. Inconsistencies will get you hurt. I guess the most frustrating thing about today was it wasn''t that we added a bunch of new plays." 


Mullen also said the offense''s lackluster play wasn''t a result of spectacular play by the defense. 


"I''d feel good if it thought the offense played good and the defense played great," Mullen said. "I don''t know that the defense did anything special, either. The offense was just pathetic." 


The workout, which represented the beginning of the final two-a-day session of preseason camp, was the second post-practice session that left Mullen less than pleased with the execution of the offense in all facets of the game. 


"I don''t know if we could be as bad as we were day one (of his first season at MSU). That was pretty bad," Mullen said. "You can be sloppy and physical, but just the whole deal is not very good offensively." 


On defense, Mullen said senior transfer linebacker Brandon Maye has a "long way to go" to earn a starting position before the Sept. 1 season opener at the University of Memphis. Maye, a three-year starter at Clemson University, has worked with the second- and third-team linebacker groups and has been forced to work his way up the depth chart in public practices. 


"He''s got a long way to go to get a spot, to get playing time," Mullen said. "It''s a fierce competition out there on the field. This is really it this week." 


Mullen said MSU will have a private scrimmage Friday. He said coaches will evaluate the performance of the players to formulate depth charts and to make decisions about playing time before the Bulldogs begin their week-long preparation for Memphis. 


"We''ll see how this week goes," Mullen said. "The plan is (giving the players the weekend off), but you know how that goes. "It might (force me to have the players practice at) 5:00 a.m. Saturday if the scrimmage is not up to my pleasing." 




TB Robinson academically eligible 


Mullen confirmed Monday morning the NCAA Eligibility Center had cleared running back Josh Robinson academically. 


Robinson, a three-star tailback according to, was allowed to practice in the preseason while MSU and NCAA compliance officials examined documentation to get the Franklinton, La., native cleared to play this season. 


Under NCAA rules, Robinson had until Wednesday, the start of classes at MSU, before he would''ve had to start missing practice time for not being cleared. 


Robinson had 1,105 yards and 20 touchdowns at Franklinton (La.) High School last year before signing in February with MSU. He was credited with a 40-yard dash time of 4.29 at two summer camps. 


Due to Robinson''s eligibility concerns, Robinson was the last freshman to report to preseason camp. The 5-foot-9 tailback arrived the evening before the first practice Aug. 4. 


Robinson is trying to break into the rotation at running back that includes senior Vick Ballard, sophomore LaDarius Perkins, senior Robert Elliott, and fellow freshman Derek Milton. Redshirt freshman tailback Nick Griffin should re-join the team in October after he recovers from an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his knee he suffered last spring. 




Beefing up the Bulldogs 


MSU players and coaches took part in the annual event hosted by the Mississippi Beef Council and Cattlemen Association on Monday night at the Horse Park. 


Included in the festivities was a steak dinner, hay bale toss contest, and milk off for the players and coaches. The event was designed to bring back awareness to The South Farm practice facility that used to be an agricultural research center for the educational department.



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