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March 27, 2013
Mullen breaks down spring work
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen spoke with the media for the first time since spring practice began.
Here is a transcript of what he had to say about the work so far.
Q: Your initial thoughts after three spring practices?
Mullen: Well, we're learning and we are in install three and we've put a different install in every day. So a lot of learning going on out there on the field. You look at a lot of things and say 'wow, that's a big play'. But usually when there is a big play on one side or the other, there is somebody making a mistake on the opposite side. So we just have to get those things cleaned up.
Q: Did you see any difference today with the pads on?
Mullen: I think it is easier to get things done, obviously. One of the hard things is to teach young players and young college kids that don't get to be out here all the time and how to practice without pads. There is a lot to that. You feel a lot safer being in pads. We had a couple of guys get banged up the first couple of days but today, we were safer protective. I think it helps to get pads on.
Q: Talk about getting your new assistant coaches in the flow of things with practice.
Mullen: I think it's good. A lot of them understand what we expect just being around. If you are a coach this is where you want to be - out on the field coaching and teaching and doing football. Bumping practice back from yesterday to today, even our coaches get antsy. Not just the players, but the coaches want to get out there on the field. So the coaches are enjoying it, too.
Q: I know Tyler Russell was a little sick yesterday. How was he out there today? He look better?
Mullen: Yeah, he's still a little under the weather. But he understands the part of being the starting quarterback and you are not always going to feel great. But he did good. A couple of new things we are looking at and trying. The great thing about him is when you are an experienced guy, he is going to say 'I like this or can we try it differently'. As he said, maybe we can get even more camera film on him just so he can see his steps and the new things we are doing out there on the field, and just get an individual camera on him out there on the field. Which is great for a guy that really wants to study that.
Q: It seems Tyler is enjoying being under center a bit more this year.
Mullen: Yeah but he has a lot of work to do on it, too. In the offseason a lot, we will practice them more under center a lot because it makes you strain a little bit more. You got to get from here to back there and you have to work a little bit harder when you are under center. It is good for him, gets him comfortable as he moves into the future playing as well.
Q: How does being under center change his thought process?
Mullen: It is decision-making and having a good idea of what you want to do before the snap. Don't assume where you are going with the ball but anticipate what's happening out there on the field. If it's not right you got to know how to change it quick. But if you are right you will get rid of the ball on time or ahead of time.
Q: You told us there would be a lot of mixing and matching with different groups.
Mullen: Yeah because there is a lot of opportunity to be had out there on the field. One of the tough things is in the spring, sometimes you end up with whole substitutions. When you are in a game situation, you don't do whole substitute. So guys have to play with other guys and they have to be used to the different guys around them. By doing that it allows you to get more comfortable using everybody.