Blog – Mullen, Stoops talking matchup on SEC teleconference

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen and Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops spoke to the media on Wednesday’s Southeastern Conference teleconference about this weekend’s matchup.

Here’s Mullen’s highlights –

Opening statement:

“We’re coming off a bye week last week. We had the opportunity to get some guys rested both physically and mentally rested. I think our guys really responded this week really, really well with a good week of practice. Came out and right back to work on Monday. Came out with a lot of energy and fired up and got ready to go. It feels like a while since we’ve been out there playing a game, so I know we’re ready to get back out on the field and go play a game on Saturday.”

Will you change your recruiting philosophy being No. 1:

“We won’t change our approach. We really trust our own evaluations in how we look at guys. I’ve seen guys that are supposedly five stars that I would disagree greatly with that rating and I’ve seen guys that aren’t rated that high that I think should be higher. One of the things you want to try to do, is stick with what we believe in how we evaluate players. It doesn’t mean we don’t 5-star players. We want everybody to be a 5-star player in our mind, but we also want guys that aren’t satisfied with just where they are in high school. Part of it is finding guys that have a chip on their shoulder and a great desire to get better once they get to college, they’re going to buy in to the program, work really hard and continue to develop once they get here. That philosophy want change for us.”

“The exposure our program is getting now what it’s doing is it’s just opening up more doors for us to look at prospects and more prospects around the country are certainly going to take a look at Mississippi State. When they do they see what great facilities we have, great campus community and a family program we have that puts us in better standing with those recruits.”

Here’s Stoops’ highlights –

Opening statement:

“Excited to get ready for Mississippi State, a team that’s well deserved being ranked No. 1. They’ve had some impressive wins and our playing some outstanding football.”

“We’re looking to improve this week, eliminate the mistakes if we’re going to go out there and compete with the great Mississippi State team. Looking forward to the challenge, looking forward to being at home and playing in Commonwealth Stadium.”

Anything on Dorian Baker from the SEC:

“I’m not able to elaborate on anything that the league and I discuss as far as calls and non-calls and things like that.”

Will he be available for the whole game Saturday:

“We’ll see. I’m not going to comment on that at this time.”

How has your team responded:

“It’s been a good response. We had a good meeting and got a lot of things corrected. We made a lot of mistakes at LSU, but I think LSU had a lot to do with that, give them credit. They beat us in all phases. I think our team has responded very well. We came back with a good meeting and light practice on Monday. Had a good, physical, hard practice on Tuesday, the guys were excited. We’ll see how we move forward the rest of the week.”

What’s different with the Mississippi State defensive line:

“I”m not sure what’s different other than some maturity. I think quite a few of those guys are seniors, with the exception of the one defensive end. Three of their front four are seniors. Just have a lot of experience and playing with a lot of confidence. They’re just playing very good as a team. I think as a defense, they can pin their ears back and play aggressive when they know how well they’re playing on special teams and on offense as well. Just put that all together, they’re active, confident and playing very disruptive.”

Is there a good way to stop Dak Prescott:

“What they do offensively and schematically and with a guy like Dak running their team, it puts a lot of stress on a defense. There’s no easy way around it. Anytime you incorporate the quarterback with designed runs, you’re going to be short, unless you want to play straight zero across the board. That’s difficult to do when they have playmakers outside. It comes down to being very disruptive up front and guys getting off blocks and making plays. It’s difficult. They can spread you out or they can play power football with the quarterback running the ball or with one of their talented backs. I don’t know if anybody is completely capable of shutting down a guy like Dak. You just try to contain him the best you can.”

What’s the status of “Boom” Williams:

“He’s not cleared to play today, so he will not practice today. That’s always day-to-day. He will not be back on the field until the doctors tell me he can be back out there.”

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