Mullen Whipping Bulldogs Into Shape

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Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen spent some time with us media folks this morning – via phone for me, obviously – and talked about myriad topics. One topic that kept getting talked about was the Bulldogs’ offseason conditioning. Mullen said there’s been quite a bit of work to do to get his players into proper shape. Take the defensive linemen. “I think the defensive line group was really out of shape,” Mullen said. “They’ve done a really good job of working hard as a group to improve.”

Then there’s tailback Anthony Dixon, who tipped the scales at 255 pounds when the offseason workouts began with Mullen and strength coach Matt Balis. Dixon’s now down to 235. “I want him to be as big and strong as he can be and being as fast as he can be,” Mullen said. Mullen also said the Bulldog’s toughness level is in need of improving: “It wasn’t very good, but it’s getting there.”

Mullen has a certain standard for his players, and a select few have achieved it: They’re part of what he calls the Champions Club, entry to which requires excellence in all areas on and off the field. Seventeen have earned that distinction so far, including linebackers Jamar Chaney and K.J. Wright, QB Tyson Lee, offensive lineman Derek Sherrod, and safeties Charles Mitchell and Wade Bonner. “Those 17 have bought into what we’re preaching,” Mullen said. “What we need to do this second quarter of spring ball is double that.”

Will more buy in? Mullen thinks so, thanks to Balis. “Usually when they see him at first they think he’s a little nuts, but they do buy in and believe what he’s doing because they see progress. … As they saw their bodies change, see them physically improve, it made it easy for them to buy in.”

Spring drills begin Tuesday, and yes, I listed Bonner as a safety. Mullen has moved him from running back because of the depth there. “Whether we use him offensively or defensively, we need to find a place for him on the field next year.”

Some other highlights from this morning’s conference call:

• On status of Arceto Clark, Anthony Johnson and Maurice Langston: “They’re all suspended from the team until further investigation.”

• On WR O’Neal Wilder, who missed last season with injury: “O’Neal’s gonna be full go this spring. He’ll be full go for what he can do.”

• On running the ball: “We’re going to be a big running team. I think the misconception of the spread is you throw it, but the version of our spread offense is we’re going to be balanced 50-50.”

• On the offensive line: “One of the things we’ve got to do is place them, get our five best offensive line on the field right now, not being too concerned with who’s playing tackle, guard or center.”

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3 Responses to “Mullen Whipping Bulldogs Into Shape”

  1. tebmsu97 Says:

    On the offensive line: “One of the things we’ve got to do is place them, get our five best offensive line on the field right now, not being too concerned with who’s playing tackle, guard or center.”

    Seems we have been hearing this for the last five years.

  2. carwwest Says:

    good stuff BL….i didnt see bonner beating out anybody for PT at RB so im glad he was moved back and hopefully can give us some good depth at safety….

    im just really hoping the injured players can come back and make an impact, people like wilder who has great potential to stretch the field in this offense, chaney, elliott, and mcrae are all very capabale i think to make a big impact on this team next year if healthy…

    teb, i know what you mean, but that was before we had a coach here….just never could grasp how a former center could be so bad at trying to develop an O-line…

    cant wait till spring ball starts because there is just no substitute for football i love braves baseball and state basketball but football is tops…

  3. imabulldog Says:

    sounds good, whip em’ into shape Dan…

    And ya knw what, they are probably doing great, it’s just that Dan and his staff probably have a completely different concept of ‘success and improvement’

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