The Bulldogs were free after today’s scrimmage to leave for a short Easter holiday break. Mississippi State will return to practices next Tuesday, in a busy week that includes a clinic with featured speaker Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer on Friday.
What was your overall evaluation of the scrimmage? Coach Dan Mullen “We’ll see, we’ll be able to watch the film. We got a lot of work in which is good. I mean all different phases. One of the things you do today is you have a checklist of all the different things you want to try to get done. It might not ‘fit’ into the specific times of the scrimmage or the flow of the scrimmage, or like in a game as it would.”
“So I think we got a lot of the things we needed to done. We’ll get a great opportunity to evaluate some players, and let guys see how they’re doing. I think what especially a lot of younger players are going to see is they do some really good things sometimes; but for us to be successful they’ve got to do good really things all the time.”
“It can’t be hey I made a big play and then missed a block the next play. Look at my great play, Coach; I’m not really concerned about that. I’m concerned about did you grade and did you do it right every single time.”
You’re at the mid-way point of spring, your thoughts so far and what you would like to get done? “Yeah, a lot the same. We’re just progressing along, progressing along. You know, spring is all about player development and getting a lot of guys different things. We’re 0-0 at the end of spring. I think our guys have a great attitude. I think they competed, I think they played hard, they give good effort. But I think they’ve got to really learn how to maximize themselves out here on the field.”
What did you think of Aeris Williams and Dontavian Lee today? “It was good. They ran the ball hard. Again I want to go look at some of the reads, make sure they’re on it. It looked like they were a little hesitant at times, and they probably could have some things a little bit more full-speed. The check pass protection obviously is going to be critical for them.”
“But I thought they ran the ball hard, which I already knew that would happen. It’s the other things you have to make sure that they’re ready for.”
Putting Nick Fitzgerald with the #1 offense, what were you looking for? “Well we’re just giving him reps. Because right now he’d be a snap away from being in the first team offense. We want to give him an opportunity to roll with that crew and just see how it went, how he performed.”
“After the first couple of series I don’t know if we had the first team offense, it was a bunch of hodge-podge. But that’s sometimes what will happen in a game.”
How has the defense grasped what Coach Manny Diaz is putting in? “I believe they’re getting it slowly but surely. They’re getting it. You see some definite improvements; you see other things that are going to be maybe drastic differences from what we did before, of them trusting their job, trusting their teammates, trusting all the fits. And not sitting there saying boy is the ball really going to get turned-back to me the right way?”
“And you see some guys over-run some plays and give up some longer runs. We can’t do that. But that’s just trusting the system and running to the ball.”
Do you expect to get Damian Williams before camp is over? “We’re hoping Tuesday he can do some things. I think he was throwing the other day. Pec strains are weird injuries, especially for a quarterback and throwing. But I’m hoping he’ll be able to do some things on Tuesday.”
It seemed to get a little physical at the end, defenders were hitting Dak (Prescott) too. Is that what you like to see as a coach? “Oh, I don’t know. I mean, Dak can take it, he’s a big boy! But no, trust me in this. The guys that are hitting Dak are probably OK to go touch him and all that stuff, because they know what they’re doing. You don’t see a lot of young guys that haven’t played a whole lot out there…but A.J. (Jefferson) and Ryan Brown and Chris Jones, they’re not going to be afraid to get in Dak’s face a little bit out there!”
For a guy like Malik Dear who should be in high school right now, what have you seen from him? “Well, the biggest thing for him as you see he can do some things. But he’s got to learn the system, learn how to play it at the college level. And he’s got to do it consistently. It can’t be a great play and then he has to come subbed-out.”
“I still think he’s working, got to get in a little bit better shape still, conditioning-wise to get ready to play at this level. But he shows he’s got the ability. We’ve just got to get him to do it consistently.”
You’re turning the guys loose for the weekend, have they earned a break here? “Well it’s Easter weekend, a lot of guys want to go spend time with their families. And so I think that’s important, to get them a break this weekend. It’s a big family weekend and let them spend time with their families.”
Do you expect Taveze Calhoun to participate? “No. Taveze, Kendrick (Market), Dez Harris, those guys are all out.”
Is De’Runnya Wilson kind of day-by-day? “De’Runnya should be back full-go. We kind of held him today, he should be full-go.. Who else? Deddrick Thomas should be back on Tuesday. We protected those guys so that they’re going to be healthy next week, instead of on the edge they didn’t need to push through today. I’d rather get them healthy and a full quantity of reps next week.”
Thanks, Coach. “Any time!”
UNOFFICIAL, PARTIAL STATISTICS
LEADING RUSHERS: Aeris Williams 19 rushes, 94 yards, 1 TD (4 yards); Brandon Holloway 6 for 84, 1 TD (75 yards); Dontavian Lee 12 for 74 yards, 2 TD (4, 6 yards); Ashton Shumpert 8 for 23 yards; Malik Dear 2 for 18 yards; Dak Prescott 4 for 11 yards, 1 TD (10 yards); Nick Fitzgerald 5 for 3 yards.
PASSING: Prescott 15 of 28 for 247 yards, 1 TD (14 yards); Fitzgerald 23 of 34 for 247 yards, 2 TD (25, 7 yards).
LEADING RECEIVERS: Fred Ross 8 for 119, 1 TD (14 yards); Jesse Jackson 6 for 104, 1 TD (25 yards); Malik Dear 7 for 65 yards; B.J. Hammond 4 for 20 yards; Fred Brown 3 for 101 yards; Joe Morrow 2 for 16 yards; Gus Walley 2 for 17 yards; Rashun Dixon 1 for 16 yards; Aeris Williams 1 for 7 yards, 1 TD (7 yards); Ashton Shumper 1 for -4 yards.
LEADING TACKLERS: Gerri Green 8, J.T. Gray 8, Zach Jackson 6, Kivon Coman 6, Tolando Cleveland 5, DeAndre Ward 5, Brandon Bryant 5.
SACKS: Gerri Green 2, A.J. Jefferson 2, Nelson Adams 1, Nick James 1.
OTHER TACKLES FOR LOSS: Green 4.
INTERCEPTIONS: Grant Harris, 62-yard TD return (walk-on QB).