Mullen Reviews Physical Friday Practice

Training camp just began its second week, and the grind shows in all sorts of ways. Such as the stubble on Dan Mullen's face this Friday morning. What do we have here, a classic ‘training camp beard'? "Nah, I just forgot to shave. That's not really me!"

Probably not, given how Mullen attends to all aspects of modern coaching such as on-camera appearance. But this somewhat more hirsuit Mullen is a good signal how busy things can get with Mississippi State preseason practicing. Especially when wake-up can come at 5:00 am and players are reporting to their South Farm facility around nine for the day's duties.

And those were heavier than usual for this ninth day, and eleventh total, session. Mullen had the Bulldogs hitting early and often as the physical intensity increased another notch. With, the coach reported, generally positive results.

"Good day today. We did a bunch of scrimmaging today, out there playing for at least half the practice. So we had fun."

Q: Was this the last day of install?
"Probably…I don't know! Probably a couple more things we'll install, and then game week you install more and gameplan."

Q: Was it ones vs. twos or others?
"No, ones vs. ones, twos-twos."

Q: Was there a special reason for scrimmaging so much today?
"No, that was our schedule. We didn't scrimmage the whole practice, just a good part of it. But it was good, a lot of individual, a lot of kicking, and other stuff.

"It was a lot of good (things) to teach off of. I'd give the day to the offense, for sure. But a lot of good things to teach off of that the offense can improve on and see some things they did that we've got to get better at. And then some key mistakes in defense. You go to tackling and a day like today you can really see where we are tackling, getting ready to get into a game."

Q: Was Chris Relf sharp?
"Yeah, at times I thought he was really sharp. I thought all the quarterbacks at times were sharp, at times were sloppy. For us, when the quarterbacks go sloppy the offense is going to go sloppy."

Q: Does it really matter who is ‘better' in a practice at this point?
"Not to me. Because if the offense is really good, then you could be worried about the defense. If the defense is really good I could be worried about the offense, or excited because one side of the ball looks sharp. I just want to see us play and execute at a very high level and play extremely hard. That's what I look for."

Q: How do the new players handle the scrimmage part?
"Good. When they get their reps they go play and have fun."

Q: How many more times do you plan to scrimmage?
"A lot. A lot. As you keep going through you're more and more situational; how many situations can we create to simulate game time, so we're ready to play. It's our responsibility as coaches to put the players in positions they're going to be in in games, so we have to make sure we do that."

Q: What is your weekend practice plan?
"We'll have two tomorrow, we'll give them a little breather on Sunday and move out of the hotel and get ready to be sharp."

Q: How important has Chad Bumphis been to getting the receivers ready?
"Great. And that's the hard part, when you're one of the lead guys as a freshman it's rough duty. Chad has done a good job. He really tries to lead, had no one to learn from by example as a position group (in 2009) so he's tried the best he can to be the leader of that group, as best he knows how."

Q: How do you see John Banks in the defense this year, and will he stick to that?
"Yeah, he's comfortable. And the thing about John is he's smart, athletic, and very versatile. So we could move him all over the field. I'm sure by the end of the year he will have played corner, he'll have played safety, he's going to be used in special teams in the return game. You never know how it shapes up, he might get some snaps on offense!"

Q: Has he worked on offense?
"No, but he's pretty good with the ball in his hands. And he's a quick learner, so if we have to utilize him he can do a lot of different things, he's so athletic."

Q: Play wildcat?
"You never know!"

Q: Is the major scrimmage August 19?
"Yeah, that's next Friday. It will be a big, big scrimmage day for us. I mean, at this point now every day we'll do some sort of scrimmage."

Q: Have you followed rumors of Texas A&M to the SEC?
"I hear rumors constantly, all the time! If I ever log on to the internet I hear rumors! I'm sure the commissioner and all the presidents of the league will make good decisions, to make sure we remain the premier conference in the country."

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