Mississippi State had its first scrimmage of the fall Thursday morning at Davis Wade Stadium.
Bulldog head coach Dan Mullen saw a lot more wrong than right, especially from the wide receivers.
The Bulldogs will scrimmage again next Thursday.
Here is an excerpt from Mullen’s chat with the media today:
Give us a rundown of the morning work:
“We had a big scrimmage in the stadium today. Disappointed in what normally happens in a first scrimmage, a bunch of false starts, silly penalties, bunch of dropped passes and missed assignments. You see that a lot early. I guess as coaches talk, it’s good we have a lot of time to get all that stuff fixed. You kind of expect it from a young team, but I was hoping to see us perform at a little higher level than that. Overall there’s somethings we have to work on. We did a good job of getting some better pass rush today, from the defensive line, I thought that was good. I thought the o-line, we came off the ball, ran the ball very well today. Those are positives that we got out of it.”
As much as you didn’t like seeing things like that, is it good you can throw it at a veteran quarterback:
“They have to make sure everybody’s doing that way. It’s the older guys making sure that they set that bar extremely, extremely high for all the young guys. When the young guys do it, making sure it doesn’t happen again. Getting them prepared for gameday. That’s our first scrimmage. Will have another big one in about a week from now. After that one, you are kind of getting into game mode at that point.”
Bunch of new starters at corner and receiver, how did that matchup kind of play out:
“We’ll watch it on film. Some of it’s hard because you get guys with a (missed assignment). If a corner rolls the wrong way, you don’t see much of matchups, it’s just receivers running wide open. If a guy runs a wrong route, then you have three guys running into each other. It looks a mess. Just a lot of things, a lot of learning those guys have to do to get ready to play. We’ve thrown a lot at them. We haven’t babied them. We’ve expected them to keep up. Our installation is the same pace this year as it was last year with all the veteran players at those positions. The people that grasp it the most, are the ones that are going to play.”
Just being in the stadium for a lot of the freshman, how did they react:
“It’s a good learning experience for them. It’s different. When you get in there, it’s not like a practice, like a practice routine. You get into a scrimmage routine. You are going to take some reps, you might take some time off, then there’s kicking game. You’ve got to get a little bit of that game mindset. Anytime we go in there, we expect their level of play to be much, much higher. It reminds them how close we are to the kickoff of the season.”
Can you talk about Joe Morrow and his progression:
“He’s got a long way to go, but he has to. I don’t count the exact numbers, but we don’t have a lot of returning receptions this year, career receptions aren’t coming back. If you combine Joe, (Robert Johnson) and Jameon (Lewis), I don’t even know if you’ll get 50 career receptions coming back. They have huge shoes to fill. Now they’re the guy, there not the guy that can come in and develop, they’re the guy who has to set the standard for the young guys. Joe’s been working at that. I think this is probably the best camp he’s had. People will look sometimes, he’ll make a big play, and everyone gets really excited. That’s great, but are you an every down player? Can we even trust to put you in the game is the most important thing. He’s working at that and getting better.”
How much does Joe Morrow being hobbled last year, motivate him this year:
“I think a bunch. There were a lot of guys in front of him last year. I don’t know if he got those opportunities. It’s a much different deal this year. It’s pretty, when there’s no pressure on you, like in a situation last year. Hey ‘I can go up and make a play, it’s no big deal because after I make my play, Chris Smith can go in for four plays to do all the right things, and then I can go to try and make one play.’ Now he’s the guy that has to do it right all the time.”
With a guy like (LaDarius) Perkins, are you monitoring touches:
“Absolutely at practice.”
What about in a game:
“You try to. I think you can get yourself out of rhythm sometimes trying to force feed the ball to certain times. He’s going to be a big part of our offense. Schematically we’re going to be trying to get him the ball. If they take it away, they take it away. We might have some more things that he’s going to be involved in.”