Quantcast

SEC Media Days 2014: Mullen, Mississippi St. not backing away f - abc27 WHTM

SEC Media Days 2014: Mullen, Mississippi St. not backing away from expectations

Posted: Updated:
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen speaks to media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days, Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen speaks to media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days, Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Mississippi State has been a reasonably successful program during coach Dan Mullen's five-year tenure, advancing to four straight bowl games.

Now the Bulldogs have a roster that looks as if it can attain even more.

Mississippi State returns a veteran defense and one of the league's few experienced quarterbacks. Dak Prescott threw for 2,134 yards and 14 touchdowns — and also rushed for 13 touchdowns — after becoming the starter early last season. The charismatic junior is now the unquestioned leader of the Bulldogs' offense.

The defense has nine starters returning, including junior linebacker Benardrick McKinney.

Mullen said on Tuesday at SEC Media Days that his team isn't backing away from expectations and the goal is "to find a way to get to Atlanta" and compete for an SEC championship.

"When you embrace that expectation early on as a program, when you embrace that for this year's team, that's what they're working for from Day 1," Mullen said. "I don't think they shy away from it."

Prescott's dual-threat ability is a big reason for the optimism. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder was often labeled as a running quarterback early in his career, but his passing progressed rapidly last season.

He'll have some experienced receivers, including Jameon Lewis, Robert Johnson, Joe Morrow and De'Runnya Wilson, as targets. Lewis led the team with 64 catches for 923 last year and the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Wilson provides the big play threat the Bulldogs' offense has sometimes lacked.

"Dak is a guy that because of his skill set, he can beat you with his arm, with his legs, he can run between the tackles and he can run in the open field," Mullen said. "He has a lot going for him. But most importantly, he has that will to win."

Mississippi State's defense will have at least five seniors starting and several experienced juniors. The unit ranked fifth in the league last year in defense, giving up just 23 points per game.

Now the Bulldogs must prove they can break through against elite opponents in the SEC's brutal Western Division. Mississippi State hasn't beaten Alabama or LSU during Mullen's tenure — a trend that almost certainly has to change if the Bulldogs want a real shot at playing in Atlanta.

"It's going to be a big road," McKinney said. "In the offseason, we train every day for games like that to be able to play four quarters of relentless effort."

_____

Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

  • UAB SportsMore>>

  • UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 3:13 PM EDT2014-08-26 19:13:29 GMT
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
  • UAB guard Chad Frazier granted his release from basketball program

    UAB guard Chad Frazier granted his release from basketball program

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:12 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:12:02 GMT
    The leading scorer on the UAB basketball team is leaving the program. Guard Chad Frazier was granted his release and will not return."Chad Frazier has been granted his release from our program," head coach Jerod Haase said in a statement. "We appreciate his contributions to our program and wish him the best." Frazier, a first team All-Conference USA selection, was arrested last month and charged with third degree domestic violence. The case was later dismissed.Frazier played one season at UAB...More >>
    The leading scorer on the UAB basketball team is leaving the program. Guard Chad Frazier was granted his release and will not return."Chad Frazier has been granted his release from our program," head coach Jerod Haase said in a statement. "We appreciate his contributions to our program and wish him the best." Frazier, a first team All-Conference USA selection, was arrested last month and charged with third degree domestic violence. The case was later dismissed.Frazier played one season at UAB...More >>
  • UAB grants Chad Frazier release from scholarship

    UAB grants Chad Frazier release from scholarship

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:58 PM EDT2014-07-29 19:58:33 GMT
    UAB has granted All-Conference USA point guard Chad Frazier a release from his scholarship.More >>
    UAB has granted All-Conference USA point guard Chad Frazier a release from his scholarship.More >>
Powered by WorldNow