The Dan Mullen Era is officially under way, because the product he’s putting together took to the field for the first time today in the first of 15 spring practices. The Bulldogs went for about three-and-a-half hours, and the difference between a Mullen practice and a Sylvester Croom practice was immediately apparent to the players.
“I think it’s more intense, more attention to detail, and a fast pace,” said linebacker Jamar Chaney. Quarterback Tyson Lee echoed that: “It’s just intense the whole way through.”
Everyone was happy to get outside and start practicing what they’ve been studying. “It’s great to back out on the field right now,” Mullen said. “This is what you work for. You do all that so you can get out here and play some football.”
Injury updates: TE Marcus Green (hamstring) looked completely healthy; Chaney (ankle) looked solid; RB Robert Elliott ran pretty well but was limited and just a little gimpy; WR Brandon McRae (leg), also limited, was moving gingerly; WR Delmon Robinson came up gimpy late in practice, holding his thigh. Also, Mark Melichar (mono) and Eric Richards (hip) were in uniform but didn’t practice.
Being pressed for time as I am tonight, here are some thoughts from Mullen, Chaney and Lee. Starting with Mullen:
• “We’ve got a long way to go. But I think our guys came out and gave some effort today, and that’s what we’re looking for after this offseason.”
• On freshman Cameron Lawrence (January enrollee) at QB: “We want to give him a shot, especially early on so he can learn the offense and add a little extra depth. If he does move to a different position, at least he has a foundation at quarterback.”
• On anyone standing out today: “I don’t know if there’s anybody that really jumped out and said, Boy, right there we’ve got ourselves a real football player. I think we’ve got a long way to go to get ourselves some football players.”
• On returning from injury: “I missed coming out here, dressing out with them before they go on to practice, just the little things that you wouldn’t think was a big deal before the injury.”
• On the mental workload: “On defense, we’ve got probably 25 percent of our defense is already in right now. They’re just putting it on us.”
• On Mullen’s coaching style: “He’s a real fiery guy. He’s a real cool coach, but he’s going to get after you, he’s going to make sure you do your job, and he’s going to make sure you go 100 percent, give all your effort.”
• On the mental workload: “It’s one thing sitting in a room and seeing things on paper, but actually getting out there with defenses and people moving, it makes a difference. That’s why tonight and tomorrow, watching film, it’s huge to look and see what I did wrong, what you did wrong, so you can learn from it.”
• On the QB battle: “It’s an open position. I ran with the ones today, Chris (Relf) ran with the twos. I don’t think that dictates or indicates anything as far as me starting.”