Mississippi State

Mullen Previews Non-Conference Road Tilt at Louisiana Tech

September 5, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State football makes its first visit to Ruston, La., since 2008 this Saturday when it faces Louisiana Tech. Head coach Dan Mullen previewed the non-conference tilt at his weekly news conference on Tuesday.

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STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State football makes its first visit to Ruston, La., since 2008 this Saturday when it faces Louisiana Tech. Head coach Dan Mullen previewed the non-conference tilt at his weekly news conference on Tuesday.

The battle of Bulldogs is set for 6:30 p.m. CT from Joe Aillet Stadium. It will be televised by CBS Sports Network (channel 221 DirecTV, channel 158 DISH). Cowbells will not be permitted inside Joe Aillet Stadium.

State (1-0) turned in one of the most dominant defensive performances in program history in a 49-0 season-opening victory over Charleston Southern Saturday. MSU set a school record for the fewest yards allowed per play (0.7) and was the only FBS team in the nation to not allow a play of 10 or more yards from scrimmage.

Tech (1-0) topped Northwestern State, 52-24, scoring the final 28 points of the contest. The Bulldogs have won three straight bowl games and are once again picked to win Conference USA.

For more information on the Bulldogs, follow the MSU football team on Twitter, like them on Facebook and join them on Instagram by searching for “HailStateFB.” All-access coverage is also available on SnapChat by searching for “HailStateSnap.

Opening Statement…

“It went pretty well for us; the opportunity to get a lot of reps in for the young players. We rotated a bunch of different guys on the defensive side of the ball. Our guys ran the ball well on the offensive side which I was really happy with. We got a bunch of reps that we could coach off of and hopefully take some steps forward, because we are going to need that with this week’s game. We have a huge challenge coming up this week going on the road, playing a team that’s one of the best home teams over the last couple of years. A team that’s one of the top offenses in all of America, that has gone to play in conference championships, and is predicted to won their conference title again this year. They are an extremely talented group. They have a quarterback that we know well from Mississippi that has experience playing. They have a running back, multiple running backs, that are explosive players that can score every time they touch the ball and dangerous with the return game. They have a veteran group on defense with a top NFL draft pick at defensive end. So, this is a very, very talented group that knows how to win and is used to winning. Obviously, we’re going to play in a tough road environment and I hope we have a great turn out from our fans. Usually we travel very well. We encourage our fans to come support the team, travel, and help us as best they can to increase that energy. This is going to be a big challenge for us. We have to take some big steps now and between week one and week two. We have to find a way to go out there and compete with an excellent football team.”

On the offensive line performance Saturday …

“There were some ups and downs but there are good things to teach off of. There was some really quality work and quality play with a little bit inconsistency at times which happens with young players. The great thing is that you’re getting reps. You can show them that this is the exact right way to do it, the exact step they need to take, or make hand placements that need to be exact. You can see what happens when you don’t get to do that in live game situations. This is a lot of great teaching for the offensive linemen. We got to play a bunch of guys which was fantastic. The teaching goes beyond the ones that were new faces on the field but to the ones that get to see themselves in a live game situation and see the things they need to continue to improve.”

On Stewart Reese Saturday …

“Both penalties on him were actually on our center that didn’t snap the ball at the right time. If the center  does not snap the ball, he doesn’t get called for the penalty, everybody else does – more on him than the tackle positions. We’ve addressed that with the center, in the communication, to get everyone else in line and being in a game situation for the first time. It will be different for a bunch of guys. For some guys, this will be their first road game and playing in a hostile environment. They will have to get accustomed and adjust to that.”

On rotation of safeties…

“We played a lot – not just with the safeties but with every position we did that (rotation). I don’t think anyone hit the 30-play mark on the defensive side of the ball. A lot of guys that we grade out to create a winning effort and a champion in the game, you have got to play at least 20 plays. Most guys got less than 20. Fletcher Adams, our defensive player of the week, created two safeties and I think he only played 13 snaps in the game. We’re able to rotate a lot of guys which is what we want to do defensively to keep them fresh and fast.”

On Kylin Hill and Keytaon Thompson performance …

“I thought that it was huge to get those guys on the field. There’s a lot that goes into whether guys play. One, are they ready physically? Two, are they ready mentally? Three, what’s the role they’re going to play and how much they going to play? All of those things go into the decisions whether not to play freshmen. Some people think it’s other things than just that. There are other freshmen that are ready to play that won’t get as many reps so we’re kind of cautious about that through the season which may change as the season go on. When Keytaon came in, you really saw why you want to get guys in the game. You have to kind of force young quarterbacks onto the field. If you look at his first couple of series and his last couple of series, he was a very different player. All of a sudden, in practices and scrimmages, he’s gone against a pretty good defense and played against some good defensive players on the practice field. It’s just different on gameday. You saw that in how you react when you put the crowd and all of those people out there. It’s even different than a spring game because this is for real. It’s good to see him get that experience.”

On injuries …

“He (Braxton Hoyett) practiced yesterday. We expect everybody to play coming out of last week’s game. Malik Dear is still a week or two away from us making a decision where he’s at.”

On offensive tempo…

“We are more efficient when we are playing at tempo. One of the things we talk about with our guys and you see it all around college football, is the ability to execute while you are controlling the game. We want to play fast. We want to play up-tempo. At times, even when we put the two’s in, you saw us later in the game try to slow the tempo down, and they weren’t in rhythm or comfortable. We talked to our guys about that that when we do want to slow the tempo down, we still want to be able to execute at a high level and be able to do that. That’s going to be important for us moving forward, especially the younger guys learning how to control different tempos of the game.”

On Louisiana Tech’s offense …

“They were one of the top offenses in the country last year and rotated guys through. Just because they lost some starters at certain positions, the other guys have played and been able to put up numbers. They have explosive playmakers. They have some great athletes that they put out there on the field. You can see it not just within the offense but within the return scheme and in the kicking game. We are going to have run the ball and tackle well in open spaces.”

On Kylin Hill‘s role moving forward…

“It’s tricky. It’s a long season. Everyone is in different positions. He’s ready to go play physically. The best way to develop him mentally is for him to get actual reps in a game and let him get out there and play some. It’s a long year and you don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s one of those discussions, very similar to a Keytaon, where you sit there and say ok let’s try not to play him and then all of a sudden Week 5 you need to play him because of injuries or whatever has happened and he has no experience at that position. That was kind of the thought. It’s giving him that experience so he can continue to develop to be more of an every down player.”

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