STARKVILLE | Dan Mullen‘s first game week press conference of the year was held this afternoon, and it was the first game week presser held at the new Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex. It went about 15 minutes, and I’ve got some highlights for you.
If you want to watch, the video (via MSU’s web site) is embedded below. Otherwise, here are some excerpts from Mullen’s chat with the media five days before the season opener against No. 13 Oklahoma State (2:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2).
• From opening comments: “To open the season this way on national television against a team ranked 13th in the country is a pretty special way to start the season. Our coaching staff’s ready to get it kicked off, our team’s ready to get it kicked off, and we’re ready to go play.”
• On this game being different from past season openers: “What you do is you’ve got to take out your margins for error. A lot of times you’re looking, especially Game 1, is what we’re trying to get accomplished. We’re trying to break in young players; let’s have a special plan, maybe, to break in young players. I think it’s a little harder in this game. This is what amounts to a big-time game right from Day 1.”
• On how many freshmen he expects to travel to Houston: “I didn’t count it. We kind of have a tentative travel list. I don’t know. I’m guessing maybe six or seven, I don’t know. I’m guessing. That’s a pure guess. I’d have to go count it. I don’t ever count what freshmen are doing what for us, I just look at who’s coming. I think our tentative travel list is going to be somewhere between 72 and 78.”
• On preparing to play against two quarterbacks, Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh: “One is a little bit more of a runner (Walsh), and one is a little bit more of the passer. But to me, when you look at their two quarterbacks, they’re not a runner and a passer. They both do each well; one’s probably a little stronger in each category than the other. …
“With that being said, I don’t think they’re going to run a different offense with each of those guys, it’s just that it’s got a little different flavor depending on who’s in the game and how those guys execute it. For us it’s about executing, being at the right place at the right time.”
• On Oklahoma State’s defense: “They don’t give up a lot of the big plays. They’re very assignment-sound, they’re very good open-field tacklers, and they really force you to earn every yard down the field.”
• Injury report: Tight end Rufus Warren (sprained ankle) is doubtful, while middle linebacker Ferlando Bohanna (concussion) is questionable.