October 8, 2012

Monday with Mullen

Dan Mullen believes his Bulldogs are in for their biggest test to date this season.

Tennessee rolls into Starkville for a primetime showdown Saturday night with their high powered offense and it will be up to Mississippi State's experienced secondary to attempt to slow them down.

"When you look at Tennessee the first thing that jumps out at you is the explosiveness of their offense," Mullen said. "They have NFL type players at every position from the receivers, quarterback, talented running backs and experienced offensive line. They can put up a lot of points and have. They've played Georgia and Florida in the SEC so far and put up a bunch of points on both teams so they obviously can score a lot."

The Volunteers junior receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson both rank among the top 15 in the conference. Hunter, a 6-foot-4, 200-pounder, has caught 22 passes for 456 yards and four touchdowns while Patterson (6-3, 205) has hauled in 21 balls for 290 yards and two scores.

"I think they are the two best receivers we've played so far this year," Mullen said. "On top of that it's the best passing quarterback (Tyler Bray) we've played this year. That combination is certainly going to be a challenge for our secondary. It should be fun. Those are the guys that we depend on as the strength of our team. The leadership and experience we have on the back end, they're going to have to step up and play big."

As much attention as Tennessee's passing game gets, lost in the shuffle sometimes is the job they are doing on the ground with junior Rajion Neal. The 5-foot-11, 211-pounder is no stranger to Bulldog fans as the former four-star prospect was committed to the Bulldogs for over five months before switching to the Vols just days before signing day in 2010.

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