Former Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen is starting his fifth season as Mississippi State’s head football coach.
Last year, Mississippi State opened the 2012 season on a high note when they defeated Jackson State 56-9 at Davis Wade Stadium. The Bulldogs went on to beat their following six opponents including Auburn, which is a team the Bulldogs hadn’t beaten since 2007. However, MSU dropped four of its last five to finish 8-4 and 4-4 in the SEC. The Bulldogs weren’t able to regain their early season success when they lost in the Gator Bowl to Northwestern 34-20.
With spring practice over, Mullen has started building the foundation of what will be their 2013 football season. The Bulldogs have a young football team with only 11 seniors on the roster next year. Returning will be senior quarterback Tyler Russell, center Dillon Day, senior running back LaDarius Perkins, offensive guard Gabe Jackson and senior defensive linemen Denico Autry and Kaleb Eulls.
Mullen said that after winning the 2010 and 2011 bowl games, the loss to Northwestern motivated the team in spring practice.
Young linebackers Richie Brown, Zach Jackson and Benardrick McKinney joined more experienced players in Deontae Skinner, Matthew Wells, Ferlando Bohanna and Jay Hughes. Mullen believes the spring was beneficial for the newer players.
Also doing well is Russell, who showed off his spring work in the program’s annual Maroon-White Game by finishing 13-of-24 for 179 yards with two touchdowns. Russell passed for 2,897 yards and had 24 touchdowns last season. Mullen said that the team has an advantage by having a veteran quarterback.
Mullen added that he wants his team to take a giant step forward this season.
The Bulldogs will face Oklahoma State on August 31 in their opening game.