There won’t be many limits Thursday evening. That’s when Dan Mullen puts the Bulldogs back on Scott Field a second time this month. Last weeks’ first scrimmage was good for evaluation, Mullen has said.
The second? The coach wants to see a Mississippi State team much closer to real season shape.
”You want to have a really clean scrimmage. And by clean you mean good execution on both sides of the play. You don’t want to see big plays made because of mistakes or touchdowns given up because of mistakes. You want to see good football being played and guys making plays within the scheme on both sides of the ball.”
Mullen said the script should not be all that different than the 165 plays snapped last week. “Just how we do it will be different,” he said.
”Much more game-oriented. We’ll start drives at different places, add a lot more kicking game to make it more game-realistic than the last scrimmage. Which was very positional, we’d place the ball and there was only extra-points and field goals. This will have all phases of kicking in it.”
Mississippi State ought be ready for more game-like competition. The week’s practices have stressed third down, red zone, goal line, two-minute, and even last plays for offense and defense alike.
“Everything that’s a situational deal,” Mullen said. “Where there’s a lot of learning the situation you’re going to be in. and just all the little things of clock management, time management, space on the field, spacing on third down plays. Shortening the field and where you have to defend and where you can go execute in.”
The goal being, for State’s staff to get back in the office Thursday evening with the first, fresh set of scrimmage cut-ups for quick viewing; then a deeper analysis on Friday. The players? Sure, they’ll go through all the video review too.
It’s inside the helmet and maybe inside the chest pads where Mullen hopes the Bulldogs benefit from serious scrimmaging. “For those guys just to be in a game-like feel and know what they need to do,” he said.
“If you see well-executed, good, clean football, then you feel comfortable getting ready into the season that you can execute at a high level in the offense, defense, and kicking game.”
The Bulldogs return to practice routine for the weekend, but also have a Saturday obligation. Fan Day at Mississippi State is 2:00-through-4:00, with Palmeiro Center opening at 1:30. Details on the event are available on HailState.com.
By then an update on the head coach’s ankle should be available. Though with two weeks left before opening evening at Southern Mississippi (September 5, 9:00, FS1) Mullen should be at full-speed again.