Mullen Back on the Job

For a few more days Dan Mullen is BOTH the offensive coordinator at the Florida Gators and the head football coach at Mississippi State, that double duty has kept Mullen awake at night, literally. The new top Bulldog has spent most of the time since getting the Mississippi State job in Starkville while still studying Oklahoma game film for the Gators.

The rest of the time he's been working in preparation of the BCS Title Game while making time for some of his new duties with MSU.

Does that sound difficult? You bet it is. Mullen spoke Monday with me and assorted media guys about his dual duties of late, the opportunity in Starkville and the battle with the Sooners.

LV: Dan, give us a sense of what it's been like since taking the Mississippi State job while trying to get ready for this game.

DM: It just takes a lot of organizational skills right now. The biggest benefit I've had is the dead period that goes on with recruiting because there's so much going on in recruiting. It's kind of quieted down, allowing me to kind of focus on things here. But when I've been involved doing my stuff there I've been 100 percent focused on that job. Then when you come back here and focus on the game plan and practice and film you have to be 100 percent focused on this job.

LV: How much easier is that said than done?

DM: It's tough, but the adrenaline keeps you going. Obviously playing in a big game like this gets you going here, and the opportunity to be a head coach for the first time is just an unbelievable feeling. I'm really excited about that, so that keeps me going on that end.

MG: How did it happen that you got the job?

DM: I heard they might want to talk with me right after the SEC Championship Game. That was the first time I heard about it and it all ended up going really fast after that.

MG: Because of recruiting there's really no reason time to do this, huh?

DM: There's no good transition time for anybody. We've tried to make this work as best we can and I think it's gone really well. I think a lot of the perception was whether or not I'd come back for this game. Urban and I talked right away and our plan right from the beginning was to try to work it out for me to do that. But Florida needed to worry about recruiting and I needed to worry about recruiting for Mississippi State and worked out the details later.

MG: What coaches have you gotten advice from?

DM: Well I got a bunch from Urban. Different people, it depends on the topic. When I'm dealing with this situation, Bo Pellini (Nebraska head coach and former LSU defensive coordinator). Bo was great because he went through the same situation. I think he was the best one in terms of dealing with this specific situation.

MG: And what did he recommend?

DM: He said make sure you set aside different times based on where you're at. When you're at Mississippi State make sure you're setting a little bit of time at night to watch film of Oklahoma and prepare for the game. When you go back to Florida and you're doing your responsibilities there make sure you set aside time to deal with your responsibilities for Mississippi State. I think his last one was hey you're playing for the national championship so try to make sure you enjoy that along the way.

LV: Dan talk about this game and the Oklahoma defense. What stands out about it?

DM: It's a solid defense. This is one of those games you get into where all the attention on both of these teams is on the offenses. Defense wins you championships. I think everybody's thought that this is going to be a 56-52 game might get thrown out the window and this might more of a defensive battle than everybody thinks it will be.

LV: Who stands out among their personnel?

DM: I don't know if they have a superstar player, but you go front to back they are a very solid defense. They're a big zone team, they'll zone pressure you and try to force you earn it and work your way down the field.


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