A Q&A with Coach Dan Mullen

Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen talks with the media after Friday afternoon's practice.

What are your thoughts about today's practice?
"It wasn't bad. It was a much lighter day today because we are expecting a physical scrimmage tomorrow. It was a chance to try and clean some things up. And we'll go watch it on film to see if we did."

Were you more pleased with the offensive play today compared to Thursday's practice?
"I wasn't real pleased with any of it because it really wasn't very competitive today because it was a lot of teaching more than anything else."

What are your thoughts about tomorrow's scrimmage?
"I'm very excited about it. It's a big day for us, probably the most important day of the spring."

Why will it be so important?
"It's going to be huge. You want to see the improvement in the guys from what they did last week."

Have you been pleased with running back Vick Ballard so far this spring?
"Yeah, what we have expected out of him. But he's really not someone I needed to see a lot from because I have seen him perform at a very high level on gameday. What we have seen out of him is that same intensity that he always has."

What have you seen out of running back LaDarius Perkins?
"He is growing, which is what we want. We know he is explosive and made big plays late in the season. But he has to develop into an all-around back and he's starting to get there."

What areas do you want the running backs to improve in from last season?
"Just everything - making consistent reads, pass protection, ball security. Those were some of the areas we were slippery in last season. We also want them to have comfort in the offense which will help them play faster."

What are your thoughts about the secondary?
"I love those guys. They are hybrid type players who can play multiple positions. It's great to have that because it gives you a lot of flexibility. Guys like Matt Wells, Johnathan Banks are hybrid type players who can give you a lot of flexibility. The great thing is right now there is some experience back there. A lot of these young guys are getting to learn from experienced players. That's what you need to build a program."

How much have you guys really hammered home the passing game during the spring?
"The passing game always takes a lot more work. The running game is really about being physical. There is a lot of skill and timing involved in the passing game. Because of that, it's never going to be a finished product. I feel a lot more comfortable that we are getting as many reps as we do at practice. We are throwing the ball a lot. And that's harder but, hopefully, it will get us much more comfortable and consistent and accuracy to get a higher percentage. I would be really disappointed if we are below 62% completion next year."

Is that something you have hammered home to the guys?
"Yeah, that's a lot about decision-making, making good decisions when you get the ball out of your hand and doing things the right way. As you get more comfortable with the offense, you should be making quicker decisions. And usually quicker decisions lead to higher percentages."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

Gene's Page Top Stories