Mullen Setting Stage For Friday Scrimmage

How serious is Dan Mullen about Friday's scrimmage? Serious enough to have the Bulldogs working in partial padding here in mid-August. That practice fact alone sends a signal on just what the event will mean in evaluating Mississippi State's readiness for the upcoming season.

Mississippi State will wrap up this week, as well as what Mullen regards as true training camp, with a game-type session at Scott Field. How ‘game' is it typed? Even the starting time is meant to set as close a theme as practical to September 1, Thursday evening at Memphis. Everything necessary for a game atmosphere will be present…well, except for fans in the stands, the Famous Maroon Band, and definitely no observers in the press box.

Mullen doesn't want it quite that game-like, naturally. Otherwise, though, the Bulldogs are under pressure to perform against each other to live standards. Because as soon as they leave the locker room the countdown to kickoff starts.

As for Thursday's practice, "Just a lot of situational," Mullen reported. "We're going to have a big scrimmage tomorrow so everything today was pretty set situation instead of more scrimmage/game-like. Second down situations, third down situations, red zone situations, a lot more of that stuff. And a little bit more fundamental work to get ready for tomorrow night."

Q: Did you scale back contact today? "Yeah, the last two days we took off the full pads. Even though we're always still pretty physical, that's just the type of team we are. But hopefully I want to see some great performances tomorrow."

Q: Do you feel any more locked in on some position battles? "Sure. Not that can I can tell you! But I feel we're locked in. You've got to buy tickets September 1st!"

Q: Will depth charts be handed out at the gate? "We'll probably post a depth chart, right? You never know, it could have Derek Sherrod at left tackle still, check with Joe on that!"

Q: Have you done any work on Memphis yet? "We did in the spring, and everything is set-up. But we have not done it on the field. We're still worrying about making ourselves better; next week is when we really start getting into game plan. We'll start touching on it early in the week, and as the week grows we'll get more and more into it. And then you get into ‘Saturday is Tuesday' so a week from this Saturday is the ‘Tuesday' of game week and that's when you really get into your game week routine."

Q: How many plays do you expect tomorrow? "You'd like to simulate a game as much as possible. This is it for us so you'd like seventy plays, probably, with each group. Seventy with the ones and with the twos, and whoever is left standing get some reps with the threes."

Q: Are there any walk-ons going on scholarship? "Marvin Bure, Brandon Wilson, Sylvester Hemphill are guys. There's a couple of others, those are three. We always try to be at 85 so in the past we've done all kinds of players, those are three off the top of my head who have done it but there's going to be more."

Q: Is Adrian Marcus going to be more involved in the offense? "Yeah, because he's kind of a half fullback/half tailback. He has some tailback ability and plays fullback. And now being in the program he understands the importance of special teams. So once you get that figured out you have a chance to contribute."

Q: With school underway do you recall your own first days of school? "Me? That was 21 years ago (whistles)! I can't publicly say what I was doing when I was in college, I'll get in trouble for that stuff! I had a lot of fun!"

"I think everybody sees it differently. I was so excited to get away to college, I was one of those that my Mom would get all mad because I would only call once a week because I was so excited to be at college and away and trying to be independent and learn on my own. But in coaching through the years you see all the ups and downs; you have some kids that love it, some are homesick, and everywhere in between. So we just have to deal with that stuff."

Q: Would you have been a good mix with social networks as a student? "Yaaaah, who knows what I would put out there? That could have been dangerous. More importantly, what could have been put out there about me!"

Q: What are your thoughts on the design approval for the football complex? "I have a lot of thoughts on that, I can't wait to get it going. We've had a lot of meetings and we'll continue to have a lot of meetings on everything that's going into it. Not just the exterior design, every detail on the interior. Myself and John Clark and will be very, very involved in it."

Q: Will the coordinators be in the press box tomorrow? "Yeah, that's a big thing for me. I just want us to gain function. I want the comfort of having your coach standing next to you sometimes gone; and I want the coaches to work the communication channels. So tomorrow is really a game for everybody. Who knows how I'll act tomorrow, because I probably try to make some adverse situations for the players and coaches just to make sure they're ready for the chaos that is game day in the SEC."

Q: Will the refs be told to have no mercy at the scrimmage? "We're having a SEC crew come out to officiate it. And I want just everything. And I'm not big at practice all the time having officials, so this is the opportunity for them to come out and really grind on our guys."

Q: Who is the crew chief? "I don't know who is coming tomorrow."

Q: Does he hate Mississippi State? "It's going to be a lot of flags then, right, because he wants both sides to lose I guess?! I love our officiating!"

Q: Is Ricco Sanders OK? "Yeah, he'll be fine. I'll give you our injuries, the only guy who has a potential season-ending injury is Taveze Calhoun, he's got a shoulder. And it kind of popped out again so we decided to do a surgery, so for him he'll probably practice for bowl game potentially or at the end of the season.

Q: He's had surgery? "He's had it."

Q: When a player puts that on twitter do you re-assess your policy on that? "No, that's fine. There's a lot more things I'm concerned about tweeting out than when they get bumps and bruises at practice or they're nicked up. I'm more concerned with certain rap lyrics they can put out there that might be portrayed as what they're saying out of their own mouth sometimes."

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