On Friday afternoon Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen met with local media to talk about the recent 2012 campaign and the latest changes within the program:
Q: Well, your thoughts about the recent coaching changes[/b]
Mullen: This time of the year you always have that happen and I guess it is the crazy season of college football. The guys that have been here and moved on, I wish them the best and they did a great job for us. We are real excited about the new guys coming in here.
David Turner has a lot of experience here and knows the state of Mississippi, knows recruiting, knows what our program is about. I know we were really disappointed when we lost him a couple of years ago and I was really thrilled and excited to have him come back and join our staff. Officially, that is the only one we can announce right now.
Q: Do you feel good about the other hire you can't announce officially right now?
Mullen: Oh yeah. When you have the opportunity to hire new coaches or change things up, there is a big plan in place and you look at it and you get excited about it. It can bring new energy and there is new excitement and news that comes in and new thoughts and ideas. That is the benefit of having staff changes. You get that new way of doing things when you walk into the door.
Q: Turner said MSU really didn't have to sell him on coming back. How big of a part did that play with him being a good fit?
Mullen:: To me the biggest part of him being a good fit was his experience and knowing our program but also the quality coach that he is and the respect I have for him both as a coach and as a recruiter and as a mentor of young men. That was such a huge part of it.
We had a lot of candidates and a lot of people want to be a part of what we are doing around here right now. It surely wasn't a shortage of people we could get and I am just glad of the ones we were able to get.
Q: What have you seen from Geoff Collins the past couple of years that gave you the idea he could handle being the defensive coordinator?
Mullen: Well, he's done it before and had one of the top defenses in the Sun Belt when he had the opportunity to coordinate. He's had experience at a lot of different levels and I am a big fan of that. You grow up in that same past and when a lot of guys do that and have that experience growing up from small schools to all different roles, I think you understand everything from top to bottom.
He is certainly not a silver spoon coach that just showed up at the door one day. He is a guy that worked his way up from the bottom. When you have those guys in charge, they know every little detail of what needs to get done.
Q: What do you expect him to bring to the defense that may have been lacking?
Mullen: He had a lot of input last year but we haven't gone through a complete evaluation yet of where we need to go with the players we have in place. I know he is going to be aggressive in coming after people, blitzing people and showing different looks and trying to confuse people, especially the ones running the no-huddle stuff. He will have the ability to make changes while (the offense) is making their checks and that way we can change things up on our side as well.
Q: How big is it to have these coaches in place before the big recruiting weekends arrive?
Mullen: It was always big. You keep a file and do things and the past 11 days have not been tons of fun for me, I guess. Lots of job interviews and talking to people and evaluating what the best combination is for us to move forward. I think we found it.
Q: Have you spoken yet with the two mid-year juco transfers Justin Cox and Jeremey Chappelle about your expectations for them?
Mullen: Absolutely. One of the big things you talk about - and I met with both of them today - with the junior college players, you are coming in as a veteran. You have to act like a junior and act in a leadership role. You look at the guys that have come in and had great success here from the junior college ranks to a Pernell McPhee, a Vick Ballard, showing up Day 1 as leaders with that energy and excitement and showing up as an older guy from the beginning.
I had that discussion with them. I told them not only do we expect you to play immediately, we expect you to act like an older guy and in a leadership role at their position.
Q: How well do you feel David Turner will mesh personality-wise with this defensive staff?
Mullen: Absolutely and what David understands is my philosophy of the program. We're gonna have a different defense than we had last year in our personality. Both Geoff and Tony Hughes were very involved in the hiring process. When you go to hire somebody, it is not about hiring a specific coach. To me it is about hiring a coaching staff and making sure that staff has a great combination of people that everyone can feed off each other. And that's what we've done.
Q: Your thoughts about being here in this new Seals facility?
Mullen: I tell you what, there is a lot to be excited about. We got 90,000 square feet of improvement in our program stepping into this new year to start things off. I know I am fired up about it. Coming in, it is almost like coming into a new job but coming into a new job that you know all the players, know all the coaches, know how it is set up, know the expectations and the fanbase knows who you are. It has that excitement feel and it does with our players and it is all new for them.
The excitement that comes with that is pretty special. Not just in the recruiting aspects and not just for people to come and see, but you walk around here and we have the premier facility in the Southeastern Conference which probably means we have the top facility in the whole nation right now. To me that is pretty exciting and pretty special.