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: Are there any other roster casualties for the season?
Mullen: Not at this point, no. You never know. Again, those are things that are sometimes out of our control. I think generally we have a very, very small attrition rate within our program. I think everyone has an attrition rate, so you never know over the next couple of months guys, whether it be medical issues or academic issues or just lost love of the game issues. You usually tend to have one or two more that could possibly happen.
Q: Is there anything to former MSU receiver Michael Carr returning to the program?
Mullen: He’s come to meet with me about it. Michael, obviously, left under some tough issues. It wasn’t an issue in what he'd done wrong within the program, and it wasn’t an issue in his dislike of the program, it was just some personal things he had to get figured out in his life. We’ve opened the door for him, if he gets those things figured out, to take care of certain business and make sure he’s on the personal right track to come and play for us in the future.
Q: I know he doesn't show much emotion but does Matt Balis have a spring in his step with the new weight room?
Mullen: He’s got an office that overlooks the weight room, so you walk by his office now and he’s just staring out there with a big smile on his face.
I think all of our players are ready to get back to work. We’re having to force to give them a week off. We rest the body. What you need for recovery for the body after going through a long season like that. You look at our guys and they’re chomping at the bit to get back after it, get out there and start working. We had our team meeting last week. This year’s team, the 2013 team, was born a week ago. It’s not even quite a week yet, right? It was born on Sunday.
That was the birth of the team and we a one-year life with this team to leave their mark on history. And I know they're fired up ready to get after it.
Q: Have you heard the players call the new weight room the ‘Balis Mall'?
Mullen: I haven’t heard the nicknames yet. Yeah. I haven’t learned all the nicknames of everybody. I’ve been traveling around doing a lot of different things. I'm sure I’ll pick them all up pretty quick.
Q: Have you talked to Tyler Russell since the bowl game about his his bowl-game performance?
Mullen: After the third interception in the first quarter, I said, you’ve got to take it in the locker room, splash some water in your face and start this over again. You know what? The great thing about Tyler is he knows he's the leader of our program.
I know he’s a guy that’s hard on his self, but he’s mature enough to understand he’s hard himself about those things. You’re not going to find a coach, you’re not going to find a fan, you’re not going to find anybody more disappointed in the outcome of that game than Tyler Russell. I know he is disappointed, but I also know Tyler is the leader of our program.
Everybody knows he’s a great player and they know he has the complete confidence of everybody on the team. As I’ve told him, you're going to go find Peyton Manning's four-interception game and Brett Favre, I’m sure, had more than one. I don’t know. I didn’t check all the stats, I’m sure Tom Brady has had those type of days, too.
You’re going to have some of those things and the great thing is how he handles it, his response to it and his desire to get back to work and move forward. I hope he doesn’t have another one of those days! But you play in football long enough, too, you’re probably you're going to have another day like that and you’re just going to have to move past that as well.
Q: What are your early thoughts on Justin Cox and Jeremey Chappelle?
Mullen: Jeremy Chappelle and Justin Cox are here in classes. They’re here to play. When you go out and recruiting junior colleges for the most part we don’t do it for depth, we bring guys in to play. If you look at the numbers, if you ever want to go do a research project, our junior college player signees to the amount they play is probably the highest in the country. We bring in those guys for need and we’re excited about those two being here and I know they’re ready to get to work and get after it. They’re already in classes and I expect to see both of them on the field for us immediately next fall.”
Q: What are your remaining priorities for this recruiting class?
Mullen: A bunch. Offensive line obviously is a big need for us this year. Quarterback is a big need for us this year. Receiver. Here,s the thing. When you look at it, there’s the ones you expect guys to come in and play right away. But, like we’ve been able to do and build the depth within a program and compete in the SEC, you better have solid recruiting across the board at every position. You can’t have lapses in years at positions or you’re going to get yourself caught at some point.”
Q: Did Jamil Golden leave the team?
Mullen: Jamil, yeah, he left. We tried to help him get to a bunch of junior colleges but Les (Koenning) was handling it. I’m not sure. Academically.