Mullen pleased with MSU's first scrimmage

Dan Mullen
Staff Writer

It’s still nearly three weeks before Mississippi State kicks off its 2017 season.
Earlier this week though, under the lights at Davis Wade Stadium, MSU head coach Dan Mullen got his first glimpse of how his team will respond in game situations.
The Bulldogs held the first of two preseason scrimmages on Tuesday. Mullen met with the media on Thursday for the first time since the workout and had good things to say about his squad.
“I was pleased with our attitude and effort at the scrimmage,” Mullen said. “Obviously, I have pretty high expectations so I always want more. There are a lot of corrections we can make to get better, but I think we’re on the right track, especially with a younger group of players on our team. The great thing is that I think the things that we can fix are very coachable things. They’re very tangible. Guys are seeing things they need to get fixed and corrected. We have a few weeks to get those things fixed before we have to go play, but I liked our attitude and our effort.”
This year’s first preseason scrimmage had a bit of a different feel than last year’s. Last year at this time, Nick Fitzgerald was battling for the starting quarterback job that he eventually won. Fitzgerald is of course now solidified as the face of MSU’s offense, but there was still work for him to do this past Tuesday, as well as for freshman backup Keytaon Thompson and the rest of State’s signal callers.
Overall, Mullen liked what he saw from the group in a game setting as opposed to a normal practice.
“They did a good job,” Mullen said of the quarterbacks. “It’s great teaching with the transitioning from first down to second down to third down, being in the red zone and how the game is moving at different times to different parts of the field, so I thought they did a good job. It’s still hard to recreate what it is like in a game. Games are a little different, but we try to get it as close as we can and they were alright.”
The quarterbacks got help from a pair of young receivers. Mullen commended freshmen Osirus Mitchell and Reggie Todd.
“Osirus made a couple plays in the scrimmage,” Mullen said. “Reggie had a big-time play in the scrimmage. I’m still waiting to see, consistently, who can go be the guy. That’s what we’re lacking right now from those guys. We know they can make the plays, (but) they just have to be consistent.”
Mississippi State will have one more scrimmage during preseason camp. That will take place next Thursday.
Between now and then, Mullen is looking for his players to “grind.”
“This is really the grind right now,” Mullen said. “We had kind of the mini-camp (earlier this preseason) with (summer) school going on. We finished up most of the installation. This week is kind of the grind week. There is a little bit of installation, but a lot of grinding. We’ve gotten away from two-a-days and a lot of the other things, but this is going to be a mental and physical grind for the next five days for us until the start of school. Next Wednesday, school starts and then the guys are in school half of the day.”