An Aliceville, Alabama native, Anfernee Mullins has already had the chance to learn two defensive systems and two positions before setting foot on the Scott Field turf at Davis Wade Stadium in an actual game. Now slotted to play at the "Viper" position, Mullins believes he has found a home in the two point stance.
"It has been good," Mullins said of his new role on Coach Peter Sirmon' s defense. "At first, I had to learn all of the coverages and all of that. Just going through the transition, it went good. I have been enjoying it. I have had good days and bad days, but all in all I have enjoyed it."
Last fall, Mullins cut his college teeth as a defensive end in the Bulldogs' 4-3 alignment. Lining up with his hand in the ground was a new experience for the talented frosh. With a high school background in linebacking, Mullins feels more at home standing up on the edge of the 3-4 defense.
"In high school, I didn't have to do a lot of covering," Mullins explained. "Back then, it was mainly just go get the quarterback. Now I have learned the system and learned how to cover guys. I have just been taking it day by day, trying to get better and looking at film. I am trying to correct things myself. Coach Sirmon and the other coaches will tell me what I have done good and what I have done bad. I am just trying to do my part."
Lining up at a position that plays to his strengths, Mullins is eager to get to work on the Davis Wade Stadium game field and show Bulldog fans their new defensive system. Aggressiveness goes with defense, so for a hard hitter like Mullins the chance to bring the heat has him excited about what is to come this fall.
"I love the defense, because it is a really crazy defense," Mullins said. "You really don't know what we're doing. We can come from anywhere and get on the quarterback. I feel like we disguise what we are really doing so well."
The 11 A.M. kickoff is not always the preferred start time for Bulldog fans who would love to have the day to spend together socializing as they prepare for a prime time affair. For Mullins, the season opener cannot get here soon enough.
"It has been so long, since I played a real football game," Mullins said with a smile. "I am eager. I am ready. I am going to keep listening to the coaches and doing what I have been doing since day one in camp to get ready."
The Bulldogs will host South Alabama for just the second time in school history on Saturday. Mississippi State holds a 2-0 record against the Jaguars with every match-up taking place in the Dan Mullen era. The most recent win game at South Alabama, a 35-3 victory in 2014.
The Bulldogs are heavy favorites in the contest, but with new faces on offense and a new scheme on defense Mississippi State will look to play to their full potential with an SEC tilt with South Carolina up next on the schedule.
Tickets for this weekend's contest remain available, but a capacity crowd is expected in Starkville as the Bulldogs get their 2016 football season underway.