Q&A: What to expect from Bulldogs tonight

TigerAuthority interviewed Gene Swindoll of Mississippi State's Scout site Thursday about what University of Memphis fans can expect from the No. 20 Bulldogs on Thursday night at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Q & A with Gene Swindoll of GenesPage.com

TigerAuthority.com: What can we expect offensively from the Bulldogs? Junior defensive lineman Dontari Poe said they're "not a tricky team" because they run the ball so much. Because the game could get out of hand early, do you think we'll see much of Chris Relf's arm on display?

Gene Swindoll of GenesPage.com: Poe is correct, MSU isn't tricky. They have a veteran offensive line and three veteran running backs, one of whom, Vick Ballard, is one of the best in the SEC. However, I expect them to pass even more this year, especially against teams that are on equal footing with them, due to how much better Relf got passing-wise as the season went on last year and the influx of more good wide receivers. Relf was at his best during the last third of the season. But the bottom line is MSU can run the ball very well and will continue doing that, especially if they get an early lead on a team.

TA:: Vick Ballard tweeted late last night that he'll be on First 48 after "murdering Memphis" tonight. Bulldogs basketball coach Rick Stansbury has had his fair share of issues because of Twitter; what's Dan Mullen's stance? Is it frustrating for him that guys are trash-talking on social media?

Swindoll: It's never been much of an issue with the MSU football players and Coach Mullen has rarely even talked about twitter or Facebook. I checked Ballard's twitter account and it appears that's the only trash talking that he has done. And even that one surprised me knowing the young man. It's probably just the excitement of the first game of what is expected to be a great season for MSU.

TA: Senior defensive back Charles Mitchell is the star of the Bulldogs secondary obviously, but who else has stood out in fall camp? How is the defense preparing for possibly two or three quarterbacks (Andy Summerlin, Skylar Jones, Taylor Reed) tonight?

GS: Media is not allowed to watch camp practices other than the first two weeks. But based on what I am hearing the veterans on defense are all having a great fall camp. One newcomer, redshirt freshman linebacker Matthew Wells, will probably line up on the first team, so it looks like he's had a good camp. As for the second part of your question, the MSU coaches appear to be focusing more on MSU than Memphis due to not really knowing what type team Memphis will be this season. They mainly want to make sure their players play as clean as possible. What I mean by clean is not making mistakes with their assignments and not committing penalties.

TA: Because the Bulldogs have such a tough SEC slate after Memphis, do you expect Mullen to go full throttle? Or do you expect his play-calling to be fairly conservative?

GS: Coach Mullen answered this question in his Monday press conference. His answer is he will do whatever needs to be done to win the game. I truly expect MSU to play their normal game, which is grind it out football. They will run early. And if Memphis can't stop the run, then they will run it over and over with a few passes thrown in for good measure. I also expect them to use a lot of running backs (probably three), wide receivers (probably around eight) and tight ends (probably three). Skill-wise on the offensive side of the ball, they will simply try to wear Memphis down with waves of running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.

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