Thus Mullen was jusssst a touch disingenuous taking his own turn for the media meeting. “What do you want me to talk about?” he quipped. Then, Mississippi State’s coach talked about his All-SEC and record setting quarterback.
Mullen: “We’re excited Dak’s coming back. I think obviously everybody knows what type of young man he is. An unbelievable young man, a great leader for our program. He has the opportunity to do some special things. And I think just throughout the whole process, when guys have these opportunities, I think his maturity and how he handled it showed obviously how he’s gotten to where he is now and the type of future he’s going to have.”
“Whether it is playing football for a long time or in any aspect of life, the maturity and how he handles situations and decision-making is very, very important in young men’s growth and development. He handled this situation extremely well, and the whole process. And I’m proud of it. I know we’re really excited to have him come back and be on this year’s football team. He’s always going to be a part of our family, but to be on this year’s football team we’re excited to have him play for us again.”
Were you ever uncertain about him returning, or were you involved the whole process? “No. I mean, I was involved the whole process. I don’t know that I was ever certain or uncertain about anything. When you’re involved in the process you feel good that you’re going to come to a good solution. A good conclusion, a good decision of what you’re going to do.”
“So I think that open dialogue, obviously it helps. It certainly makes everything more comfortable for everybody. So I think it makes Dak a lot more comfortable in making that decision, knowing that there is open dialogue. Ultimately it is his decision, he’s the one that has to go do it. But I think the comfort in doing it, when you know you’ve looked and you’ve weighed the options and you’ve discussed and talked; and you’re making a very knowledgeable decision, you’ve going to have the opportunity to make the right decision.”
Having coached a number of quarterbacks that went to the NFL, what did you see from him this year? “Well, I saw form him throughout this year, I think he became a better pocket passer throughout the course of the season. Better decision-maker, and how fast he has to see things. So I think that improved throughout the course of the season.”
“And one thing is, that’s never going to stop improving. You watch these guys at the highest of levels, they’re still trying to improve and do things better. Dak really understands that. So I think a big part of it for him, he’s going to get so many reps here, opportunities to have reps. Not just practice reps but game, live reps out there.”
“I think the experience he is going to get is going to be invaluable this year. You might not get that even if he decided to go to the NFL. Even if you get drafted you might not get that many opportunities to get live reps. In the big picture of things that will hurt your development.”