Tuesday Bulldog Football Practice Review

Eight days and twelve practice later, the Bulldogs bid farewell to the Farm and move back into more permanent quarters. And, into another frame of preseason mind with only a couple of remaining weeks before the 2011 campaign kicks off. Asked if their stint on south campus achieved all goals, "If we didn't, it's too late now!" quipped Dan Mullen.

But it isn't too late to take results from the Farm and either fix or freshen, not yet. Following Tuesday's afternoon practice, Mullen said there are at least three more dates left in true training camp before Mississippi State shifts towards game preparation.

Tuesday marked the first time a Bulldog practice was recorded entirely in high definition video. The technology had been tested partially at some previous practices and a July prospect camp. It should cut editing time for the video coaches are provided after each practice by as much as two-thirds.

The most recent Farm reports had held a general tone of disappointment with how the Bulldog offense had performed. Actually, disappointment was a mild description of Mullen's tone the past couple of days. A number of offensive players mentioned to media they thought Tuesday showed better execution and focus, but the boss had the final say on this subject.

"I don't know about that. But the effort was better. There are still a lot of execution things on both sides of the ball that we've got to cleaned up. A couple of turnovers on offense, we can't have turn the ball over and expect to win and that was disappointing. And some guys making some plays on defense to help that."

"But the effort was better. I still think it was a little sloppy. We've got to gets things cleaned up."

Q: Did you accomplish what you wanted on the Farm? "If we didn't, it's too late now. We're coming back here tomorrow, that was our last practice out there today. The big challenge for each kid, I asked them there were two things: you can either survive the Farm or you can attack the Farm. If we're worried about surviving the Farm we're not going to be a very good football team. If we go attack the Farm we'll have a chance to be a championship team. So each individual has to ask that of themselves to find out how we're going to come together, and did we do it as a team."

Q: Did you see more attacking or surviving? "A little bit of both, a little bit of both. I guess because it's just us it's hard to tell sometimes, there's not another opponent you're going against. It's just always going against each other. So this time of year it's really hard to tell where you're at, because you could be really good on one side of the ball or you could be really bad on the other side of the ball. You don't know which one it is."

Q: The last few days you've talked about disappointment with the offense, should fans be worried? "Oh, it's hard for me to figure what they're worried about! I know I hope the fans are just resting to get ready to show up September 1 in Memphis and make a lot of noise. They'd better be prepping their voice right now to really loud on September 1, and save up for the home opener a couple of weeks later."

Q: How has the offense responded to your added expectations? "Yeah, at times. I think the fact that there's a lot of competition helps. Because you're sitting out there and guys are fighting for playing time. At a lot of positions there's not a lot of difference between the ones and twos, so it will be a short leash on a lot of guys out there on the field right now at practice and they know that. I think that added pressure will help us as the season goes on."

Q: How do you characterize your offensive line? "Sometimes good, sometimes bad. The level we expect them to play is extremely high, and I think they're still coming together and just getting used to playing together and getting in that synch. You know, an offensive line you need all five of them moving in the same direction at the same time. And the twos are some really young guys; that's going to be when they rotate in are they playing up to our level of expectations?"

Q: How have Ballard and Perkins looked? "Pretty good. Vick has performed I thought at a really high level. And LaDarius really has picked up I think where he left off and it has continued to improve with those two. It's the third tailback that is the big question mark."

Q: Moving back to the regular practice fields, and with classes starting, how does the practice change? "We're into camp through Friday. It's still way too early to stop training camp right now just because school has started back up, we start school early here. But next week we'll kind of start to get a little bit more into game mode."

Q: What do you say to the momentum the program now is perceived to have? "It's a great compliment. That's what we want. We're in the Southeastern Conference and athletic departments in the Southeastern Conference football teams are kind of put out front. A lot of pressure, a lot of expectations. But that is the way we want it to be here, and hopefully we are leading the way, the charge I guess, of our University into the future."

Q: When classes start people say intensity drops, what was it like last year and what do you expect tomorrow? "We'll see, there's always that distraction. We talked about that today a little bit, of we can't let all the other added distractions that have come in now get into football. Because now with school starting off we're going from football 24 hours a day to four hours a day. I think what we have to do is make sure we have razor sharp focus for those four hours and we're not letting all the other things bleed in."

Q: Have you started to get a good handle on kicking and kick return? "Oh, yeah. We're getting a pretty good handle on who is going to play where. I think after Friday night, there are a couple of more guys I want to see do some things to make sure we're ready to go. It will all be live. We did a bunch live today on special teams."

Q: Were field goals better? "Field goals have been getting better, I mean I don't know if they could get any worse, could they?"

Q: What do you want to see from the punters Friday? "The positive thing is every time we go in more of a live situation they perform very well. Every time we're not in a live situation they drive me out of my mind with inconsistency! I guess we'd like to see them boom it when it counts, and every time I've tried to put a pressure situation the punters have responded."

Q: What does it mean having Marcus Green back? "I mean it's huge for us. Last year when you look at the injuries we suffered at that position you kind of get wiped out. But we're still not with the depth there, you have Marcus and then two redshirt freshmen and a true freshman at that position. So it's hard to go all in and build that whole package when you're an injury away from being out of that package. But he's a versatile player that can do a lot of different things for you."

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