Press Release from Mississippi State Athletics
Nearly five weeks of training camp has come and gone for Mississippi State football, which now fully turns its attention to its season-opening opponent Charleston Southern.
Ninth-year head coach Dan Mullen put the Bulldogs through their 23rd preseason practice Thursday night, marking the third of three workouts this week and the final one before game week Monday.
“I’m pretty pleased with how training camp went overall and the development and effort of our guys,” Mullen said. “They have an opportunity to go home and see family and get a little breather.”
The Bulldogs began training camp on July 25, and the month-long stretch has proved to be beneficial from a recovery and injury standpoint.
“I’m a big fan after talking with our coaches, talking with our players of the schedule,” he said. “I think the extended time of training camp, the ability to space it out and create a schedule after talking to the players, they enjoyed it. Talking to the coaches, they thought it was very beneficial to learning. But most importantly, after talking with out trainers and strength staff, it’s the least number of injuries that we’ve had, least number of soft tissue injuries that we’ve had or dehydration or any of that stuff because of the amount of time and the potential to recover.”
Mullen looked forward to game week, including his annual stop at “Cowbell Yell,” which takes place at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31 in Davis Wade Stadium.
“One of the things that makes Mississippi State such a special place is the environment and the energy that our students bring every single game,” he said. “They really set the tempo. When you get into Cowbell Yell, the students and the band in there, they set the tempo for the rest of the crowd. Their energy level, as they raise it up, they raise up the rest of the crowd, and that was always a top priority for us when we got here.”
Kickoff for the Bulldogs and Charleston Southern is set for 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, Sept. 2. The contest will be televised live on SEC Network.
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Below are quotes from Mullen’s media session:
“Now we’re switching into game week and as we get ready for game week, I’m pretty pleased with how training camp went overall, the development and effort of our guys. I’m a big fan after talking with our coaches, talking with our players of the schedule. I know about the NCAA changes they made and there’s still a lot of discussion. I don’t know if we had less contact. We had less two-a-days than we did before, but we didn’t have less contact than we’ve had in any other camp. I think the extended time of training camp, the ability to space it out and create a schedule after talking to the players, they enjoyed it. Talking to the coaches, they thought it was very beneficial to learning. But most importantly, after talking with out trainers and strength staff, it’s the least number of injuries that we’ve had, least number of soft tissue injuries that we’ve had or dehydration or any of that stuff because of the amount of time and the potential to recover. When you have that extra time, that gives us the opportunity to have not just the one day off a week. Actually, in a lot of cases, we have more than one day off a week and we’re able to space out different recovery times for players. For example, after a scrimmage, sometimes two days off. One day of meetings and a player off day. I think that was very beneficial health-wise for our players and recovery-wise for our players. The schedule works and I hope the NCAA doesn’t take a step backwards and put the players at risk moving forward by shortening that window of opportunity for the players. Also within final exams, our class schedule is different than a lot of people, to be able to fit it in the most beneficial way around academics as well to give them time off to go take care of academics.”
“The only guy talking to our trainers that’s doubtful or probably not going to play in game one would be Malik Dear. He’s still recovering from that ACL [tear] in the offseason. Within our training staff, they believe that everyone else will be ready for game one. Ready to play. Obviously, there’s another week of practice after they do whatever over the weekend. Hopefully no one gets hit by a bus or anything. He’s the only one. We still haven’t made a decision on Malik and where he’ll be this season. They think that he’s ahead of schedule. I don’t expect him [to play] in the first two games. After that we’re going to have to make a decision. After it gets going of where he’s at. Is it going to be, he’s kind of ready for game three and four? Or is it going to be, he’s not ready until game seven or eight? We will have to make a decision at that point. He’s been running. He hasn’t done any practice, just running with the trainers. Landon Guidry who tore his ACL in camp. Landon Guidry is the other one. Harry Parker as well. Harry Parker had an infection in his elbow and spent a couple of days in the hospital and missed practice. We’re not sure what he has or whether or not he’ll be available. There was a chance that both he and Landon were going to redshirt anyway. So I think that will probably increase that, Landon for sure. Harry as well, but Malik is the only guy that we expect to miss any time.”
On the placekicking position battle…
“I think that they’re doing well. To be honest with you, I haven’t gotten a chance to check the exact stat sheet, but it still looks pretty close to me. From the naked eye, not having gone through and checked every single statistic, that’s something that will get done over the next couple of days. You know, just let them keep kicking. It will probably be a game time deal. It’s not something that has a big effect on people. If I say you’re the guy right now and then everyone else tanks, and then we walk into the stadium and then he can’t hit a kick because it’s game day pressure, then I kind of ruined the entire kicking department.
On the benefits of an extended fall practice schedule…
“It’s because there’s time to learn. It’s all about timing. Instead of saying, “Hey, we have this really short time. Here’s everything.” That’s why they don’t teach biochemistry in three weeks. Just like anything, right? Anybody struggle with biochemistry? With that type of deal, I think the ability to take time and teach, instead of having to get as much in during a short period of time, I think helps the players absorb stuff. We just did things differently. To be able to take a day every once in a while to be able to digest it. We had several days where we didn’t practice but it wasn’t an off day. We just had some meetings. They could lift, especially when school was in session. They could take care of some academics and get caught up on some football.”
On this year’s Bulldog squad headed into the 2017 season …
“We’ve gone against each other for so long. I love the attitude that our guys have right now. We’re playing a little harder, the energy that we play with, how they come out to practice every day. Obviously, that has to translate now. We don’t play against each other. The next time that we are going to really have an opportunity to play against each other is going to be bowl prep. So the next four months, our offense doesn’t go against our defense. We don’t have to execute against our defense. We have to execute against everyone else’s defense. Our defense doesn’t have to stop our offense. They have to stop everyone else’s offense. How will our younger guys react? We have some veteran players, but we don’t have a big senior class. Even though guys have been on the field. All those guys transition now from where we’re at in camp and going against the offense and defense, going against each other every day. We have to transition that into game planning and applying that game plan from week to week. I think our attitude has been fantastic, our effort, things that are more important to me, I’m pleased with.”
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