Mississippi State head coach DanÂ Mullen challenges an official in the second half of their NCAA college football game against LSU. (Photo by Gerald Herbert, AP)
Mississippi State head football coach Dan Mullen is eager to get back to work this week.
The Bulldogs (7-3, 3-3) are coming off three straight losses and Mullen believes if a few things had gone their way, they might have a different record.
"We get back to work, get out to practice (Monday), (and) clean up the little things," Mullen said during his Monday press conference. "As you look back and see all the small things, how they are, and I mean so many little small things."
In the 37-17 LSU loss, MSU was in the red zone with just over a minute remaining. A Tyler Russell interception ended those hopes, but Mullen saw that as an opportunity to win the game.
"We were first-and-goal on the 3-yard line and we score a touchdown with a minute to go (and) we're on-side kicking down six," Mullen said. "(If we) come up with the ball, you're looking at a score to win the game."
Mullen has been an assistant coach and now a head coach in the Southeastern Conference. He has seen how brutal an SEC schedule can be and knows that the margin of error is very slim.
"That's how small the margin of error is in this league, so it's critical for us," Mullen said. "I think our guys understand that's how small that margin of error is. The detail that we need because there are a lot of things in that game, little things if we corrected we would have put ourselves in an opportunity to win it."
Now Mississippi State must fix those mistakes before this week's game against Arkansas. The Razorbacks come in with a 4-6 overall record and 2-4 record in the SEC.Â
The Razorbacks have gone through a great deal in the past few months with a coach resigning and an interim coming in.
They haven't had the season they thought, but Mullen still sees the potential of the Razorbacks.
"They didn't trade away all those players midseason," Mullen said. "They didn't pull a Red Sox and dump the roster halfway through the season. They're still there. They have a top pick in the NFL Draft at quarterback (in Tyler Wilson). As any team or an NFL team, you go get a primo guy at that spot then you better watch out."
to play Saturday
Junior tailback LaDarius Perkins missed last week's game against LSU due to an leg injury.
Mullen believes he will be able to play this weekend.
"We expect Perkins to play, but again it's a muscular thing, so the trainers expect him to be good to play and be out on the practice field by Wednesday," Mullen said.
Sophomore running back Nick Griffin got the starting nod against the Tigers with the Perkins injury.
"He came in finding out the day of the game that you're going to go start on the road at LSU for you first start, (and) really not ever finding out officially until I'd say an hour before kickoff," Mullen said. "He handled that very, very well and he played hard. He did some good things."
Griffin rushed for 38 yards on 11 carries in the LSU loss.
Seniors to be honored
Mississippi State will honor 25 seniors prior to the kickoff for senior day.
They have an overall record of 28-20 and it is the winningest senior class in over a decade. They are only the fourth senior class to win 28 games since the end of World War II.
They are the second senior class to earn three-straight bowl berths and the third senior class to play in three bowl games.
MSU will also honor Nick Bell, as he was a supposed to be a senior. Bell passed away from cancer on Nov. 2 in 2010.
Conerly Trophy nominee
MSU senior cornerback and former East Webster player Johnthan Banks was one of 10 nominees for the Conerly Trophy, which goes to the best football player in the state of Mississippi.
Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace joins Banks on the nominee list.
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