Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen decided to give his team the weekend off due to the open date. It was a rare opportunity in the fall for his players and coaching staff to spend time away from football with their families.
“People always forget that these are 18, 19 and 20-year old kids out there playing for us a lot,” Mullen said. “They’re just regular kids and having the opportunity to step away and take a break to go see their family. These guys are here in summer school all summer and that overlaps with training camp then you’re back into school and game week. The opportunity to get back home and spend a little time with their families and spend a little time away from football hopefully gets us energized come tomorrow’s practice.”
Even Mullen took advantage of the free time spending it with his wife Megan and two small children. But amid the family time the television in the background was tuned to college football including the LSU-Georgia matchup with MSU set to host the Tigers on Saturday at 6 p.m. on ESPN.
“I got to watch a bunch of the game but didn’t get to watch all of it,” Mullen said. “I was spending some family time with my kids and my wife. The biggest thing I got out of it is LSU is really good and so is Georgia. We’re going to have our hands full this week.”
Mullen watched as LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger completed 23 of 37 passing for 372 yards and three touchdowns against his former team. Mettenberger had similar success against State last season throwing for 273 yards and two scores in a 37-17 win in Baton Rouge.
“I remember (Mettenberger) as a junior in high school and working with him at football camps,” Mullen said. “I’ve always know he has a huge arm and is a very talented passer. You watch and see a guy who is very, very comfortable being out there on the field and has good leadership of the team with a lot of great skill players around him. He does a good job distributing the ball to all those different skill players.”
Mullen has his own quarterback situation to look after as well. Senior Tyler Russell has been cleared from a week 1 concussion but is being pushed for playing time by sophomore Dak Prescott who filled in admirably during his absence.
Russell was named the starter by Mullen following the Bulldogs 62-7 win over Troy on Sept. 21 but stated that how both quarterbacks are utilized is still being determined.
“It’s always going to change from game-to-game,” Mullen said. “We’ll figure that out on game day when we have the final plan ready for LSU. But I do feel a lot more comfortable now that Dak has a couple of starts under his belt. Having two starting quarterbacks is a good problem to have. I feel pretty comfortable with both guys.”