Mississippi State affirms cooperation with the NCAA in regard to unspecified irregularities without acknowledging any names in any aspect. Mullen and State will be dealing with the issue in days to come.
But then the days of most immediate interest to the head coach are those remaining before September 1's kickoff at Scott Field. And while Mullen and remaining staff could have continued setting lineups and drawing gameplans for Jackson State, nobody wanted to get into the meat of SEC season short-handed. Nor did Mullen want to spend valuable time contacting and interviewing candidates.
Now he won't. Brewster is a fast and fortunate solution. He's already on the job, too, having reported in time for Thursday's practice. "I can't tell you how great it was to be back on the grass today," Brewster said. "I missed it badly."
Brewster had been off the sideline and living in Chapel Hill, N.C., since being dismissed from Minnesota during the 2010 season. He was hired by the Gophers in 2008, his first head coaching job in college, and posted a 15-30 record with two Insight Bowl appearances. He did stay connected to the game last season as a commentator for FOX, and for this fall had signed on with CBS's online broadcasts.
All that changed in the course of two days.
"I can't even tell you what a whirlwind it's been," Brewster said. "I flew into Starkville yesterday and met with Coach. Then I flew back to North Carolina last night, continued the conversation with Coach Mullen this morning. I was on the golf course, after about three holes I had to excuse myself because I had to go pack a bag and come back to Starkville."
"I think we're extremely, extremely fortunate," Mullen said. "To be in the situation, and have a coach the quality of Tim Brewster wanting to come be a part of it, wanting to step in and help in this very difficult situation that we're in. And for us to get the quality of coach we've gotten, I think we've very, very fortunate."
Word raced around football's professional telegraph that Mississippi State had an opening, and Brewster heard it. "My first reaction wasn't that I need to look into this. It kind of piqued my interest a little bit. I said to my wife there may be an opening with Dan Mullen at Mississippi State, what do you think?"
The response on the home front was positive, though Brewster suspects an ulterior motive. "She was ready to get my (deleted) out of the house and back to work!" The fact is after over a year away Brewster needed something more to do than play golf.
"I can't be more excited about being here. I've looked forward to getting back to coaching. Because coaching is what I do best, it's what I love to do the most."
But Brewster was not going to jump at any opening either. This is a career coach who has worked, as Mullen said, at the highest levels of the game. Brewster has coached, primarily tight ends, at North Carolina and Texas in college with Mack Brown; then San Diego and Denver in the NFL. He was thought enough of to be associate head coach in 2004 with the Chargers.
Interestingly, his top-level experience has made Brewster a bit picky. Not about the name of the school he would consider, though; but who would be in the coach's meeting room with him every day. "It's not about jobs. It's about people," he said.
"I've worked for three Hall of Fame coaches. I've been blessed to be around the best of the best, and I think Dan Mullen is of that same caliber. He's younger obviously but I think he's got an amazing future." High praise indeed to have Mullen's name in such company. Moreover, Brewster finds some comparable characteristics to himself in the decade-younger boss, the passion for the game and energy put into the job.
Then there was one other selling point Mississippi State offered. "The SEC is the best football conference in America, no doubt about it," said Brewster, a veteran of the ACC, Big XII, and Big Ten. "It's like the opportunity I had to coach in the National Football League. You know you're coaching against the best. And that was a strong motivation to me to work in this conference."
Whatever the temporary disruptions wrought by Mirando's departure, Mississippi State benefits from a deep and largely veteran receiver corps. Now they meet a new boss who in just about no way seems same as the old boss. It wasn't fair of course but Brewster had to be asked for first-day impressions of his group.
"(Chad) Bumphis jumped out at me today, he's a guy with some explosive nature about him and he's going to be a strong fixture in the offense," Brewster said. "But today, heck, I was just trying to put names and faces together. But my competitive juices got going and I jumped in and took those guys and just had a great deal of fun."
One obvious question is, given his resume's lean towards tight ends, how Brewster expects to jump right in among the split ends and flankers and coach them. He has the answer.
"There's no difference for me because I cross-trained the tight ends. I had a guy like Antonio Gates at San Diego. We extended him and I taught him X, Y, Z, and F. I taught him the backfield position, all the protections." Not that he intends to cross-train every Bulldog receiver, understand; Brewster was pointing to an overall offensive approach.
"So as coach of the tight end, to be honest with you, you understand the whole picture offensively. And I was a wide receiver for a period of time, I understand wide receiver." As in a route-runner for Illinois from 1981-83. "So it's a natural fit for me."
Having a hands-on coach for his receivers through this 2012 season was Mullen's immediate objective. But there is recruiting to be done during and after the schedule too. Even with the bulk of the 2013 class committed there are still openings to fill, as well as all those announced kids to keep in touch with. Also, Brewster's track record with top prospects around the south and southwest ought to open up fresh hunting grounds for Mississippi State.
"It's going to be a whole lot easier to attract kids to Starkville, Miss., than Minneapolis, Minn. Particularly from the state of Louisiana and Mississippi and Texas and Florida, the areas I recruit," Brewster said.
"I love to recruit because it's the lifeblood of what you are. My battery is charged and I'm ready to get back at it. I'm excited about going into the state of Texas recruiting because I have some very strong ties in the state of Texas. I'm excited about recruiting the best kids in the state of Mississippi, keeping them home. And wherever else Dan wants me to go."
Brewster is guaranteed to stay on the go for many months to come as he knocks off the coaching rust. Those golf clubs might be another matter.