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August 12, 2011

Bulldogs scrimmage heavy on Friday

On a muggy morning for Mississippi State, head coach Dan Mullen went through day nine of fall training camp with his Bulldogs, practicing once in the a.m., sandwiched between two days of twice-daily practice.

Sporting a short training camp beard he said he hasn't had time to shave, Mullen said his players and coaches spent at least half of the practice today scrimmaging, much more time than usual.

"I'd give the day to the offense, for sure," Mullen said. "But a lot of good things to teach off of that the offense can improve on and see some things we did that we gotta get better at. Then some key mistakes on defense, when you go and you and tackle on a day like today, you get to really see where we are, tackling."

The offense appeared to "win" the day both by having good moments and by the defense having more bad ones.

Mullen said that starting quarterback Chris Relf was mostly impressive and that the offense usually goes as he goes.

"At times, I thought he was really sharp," Mullen said. "I thought all the quarterbacks at times were sharp and at times were sloppy. For us, when the quarterbacks go sloppy the offense goes sloppy."

While Mullen conceded the offense won, he said things like "winners" in a scrimmage don't mean much, because it can often be tough to judge.

"Because if the offense is really good, then I could be worried about the defense," Mullen said. "If the defense is really good I could be worried about the offense, or excited because one side of the ball looks sharp. I just wanna see us play and execute at a very high level. Play extremely hard. That's what I look for."

Today was the longest period MSU has spent scrimmaging, but as the team has finished up most of the installation of the offense and defense, Mullen expects to see much more.

"A lot, a lot," Mullen said. "As you keep going through now, you're doing more and more situation. I mean, how many different situations can we create to simulate game time so we're ready to play. It's our responsibility as coaches to put players in the situations they're gonna be in in games. Gotta make sure we do that."

With most of the installation done, Mullen appears to now be mulling some new twists to his offense. Junior cornerback Johnthan Banks, who played quarterback some in high school, has been working with the punt return team and Mullen may be willing to consider giving Banks some snaps on offense, though he hasn't done it yet.

"He's pretty good with the ball in his hands," Mullen said. "He's a quick learner, so if we have to utilize him he can do a lot of different things. He's just so athletic."

Could Banks play wildcat quarterback?

"You never know," Mullen said with a sly grin.

MSU will have two practices tomorrow and the team has Sunday off to move out of the hotel and get ready for school, which starts next week.



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