Dan Mullen held his weekly press conference this afternoon, and I’ve got plenty of good tid-bits for you as MSU (7-3, 3-3 SEC) begins preparations for a visit from Arkansas (4-6, 2-4) on Saturday (11:21 a.m., SEC Network).
How important was signing Chad Bumphis to making a mark and keeping him in-state?
“It was huge. It certainly helped me because he was the only guy in that recruiting class that I knew before I got here. That I had a relationship with before I got here. So think it was huge because he ended up helping be kind of a bridge to the other guys, all those guys that decided to stick together and play for their state school and represent the state of Mississippi. He’s that bridge of telling guys hey, I’ve known Coach a little bit longer than everybody else, I think we can do some pretty good things here.”
On Nick Griffin getting his confidence back, especially mentally, his LSU performance:
“He came in, and finding out the day of the game that you’re going to go start on the road at LSU for your first start is probably a pretty big deal. Really not even finding out officially until I’d say an hour before kickoff. I think he handled that very, very well, and he played hard. He did some good things. He graded a champion in the game and did his job. That was a real positive and something that will be a real positive to build on in the future.”
Where’s Tobias Smith at health-wise, other injuries:
“Tobias is still on his Jimmy Buffett schedule: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He’ll rest today, practice tomorrow, rest Wednesday, practice Thursday, rest Friday, play Saturday. That’s it. Injury department, we’ve got guys that are banged up. The only one that is questionable this week is Ferlando Bohanna with a groin strain. With anything that’s muscular, he’s day to day. So we’ve got to see how that holds true, how that comes out. We expect (LaDarius Perkins) to play, but again it’s a muscular thing, so the trainers expect him to be good to go to play and be out on the practice field by Wednesday. With those things, there’s no an exact calendar on it.”
Different things you did defensively vs. LSU:
“What we tried to do in matchups is having the ability to move John Banks around is really what it was. I think a lot of teams were trying to just stay away from John and isolate John on one part of the field, and then just go completely away from that. So we tried to move, like let Corey (Broomfield) play some corner in nickel situations and have the ability to move John Banks around some. To do that, you put Jay Hughes on the field. I thought Jay played pretty well during the course of the game. It was more of those flexibility things that we wanted to maybe put John in position to make more plays.”
Hope to continue that, did it work out?
“The breakdowns to me, the breakdowns weren’t a result of that stuff. The breakdowns, we had a guy get a wrong signal and blitz when he wasn’t supposed to blitz, and we had another guy roll to the middle of the field when he was supposed to roll over to the top at the boundary. There are pretty significant mental breakdowns, but all of them have nothing to do with John or Corey moving around.”
On the secondary communication issues:
“It’s about the repetition and doing it. Making guys talk in practice. To be honest with you, it comes down to your constant focus. It wasn’t like we didn’t run that defense again later in the game and run it well at other points in the game. The once hurt you. It’s that constant grind where the margin of error is so small.”
On Arkansas still having top-10 talent:
“They’re absolutely that way. They didn’t trade away all those players midseason. They didn’t pull a Red Sox and dump the roster after halfway through the season. They’re all still there. They have a top pick in the NFL Draft at quarterback.”
Egg Bowl is a night kick, do you like that?
“I’ll play them at 9 o’clock in the morning out in the parking lot. I’m good. Scheduling wise for us, we stay here and drive up there. The early morning kick makes it, with travel logistics, a little bit tricky. That helps us with the travel part.”
Ole Miss probably will be needing sixth win for bowl game in the Egg Bowl? Some more flavor to the Egg Bowl?
“Probably for them. It won’t add anything more to me. It already is pretty important to us.”