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Bulldogs in new position: MSU looking to handle the 'adversity of success'

September 10, 2012

Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell won SEC Offensive Player of the Week after a 28-10 victory over Auburn. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

Since Dan Mullen took the job as head coach at Mississippi State, he’s waited for today to come. The day the Bulldogs have to deal with success.

During Mullen’s weekly address to the media on Monday, he explained the need for his team to be able to handle a situation it has never faced - learning how to play when you’re having success.

“This is new territory for our guys," Mullen said. "They haven’t been in this position. At this point of the season, we’re always trying to come back and say, 'OK, this is what we have to build on and now we’ve got to deal with a little bit of adversity.'

“People are going to be patting you on the back. When was the last time that happened? It was after Michigan and we had a lackluster spring. Those pats on the back can become kicks in the rear end really quick.”

Russell chosen SEC
Offensive Player of the Week

There’s no question Tyler Russell deserves recognition for his 20-of-29 effort against Auburn and the Southeastern Conference agreed by honoring him at the Offensive Player of the Week.

The Russell lead offense gave State its first SEC opening win since 1998 and Mullen was certainly pleased with what he saw from the junior quarterback.

“It’s a great honor, but I think that’s the evolution of Tyler Russell," Mullen said. "A couple years ago when he came here, that’s what’s been expected out of him. You’re in such a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately society in the world we live in. They kind of forget that’s what was expected out of him, but he, as much guys do, he’s developed, matured and grown into that position. Now he is ready to perform at the level everybody expected him to be.”

Banks on honor roll

Former East Webster player and MSU defensive back Johnthan Banks was one of three players listed on the national Hornung Award weekly honor roll this week.

Banks had two interceptions against Auburn and has 14 thefts for his career. He is only two shy of tying Walt Harris for the most in school history.

Don’t sleep on Troy

The Bulldogs will have their hands full this week as they travel to Troy, Ala., for the first road test of the young season.

Troy posted over 500 yards of total offense and isn’t afraid to light up the scoreboard with a versatile offensive attack.

“You’re preparing just like you’re going to Alabama as you are going to Troy with the crowd noise, going on the road and being in a hostile environment," Mullen said. "I don’t think we have seen exactly what their personality is yet. Ours is growing within our team. With theirs and the two different games that they’ve been in, you’re going to have to see coming into this game what direction they’re heading in and really the game can dictate a lot of that as well as the game progresses.”

Injury front

The Bulldogs remain relatively healthy heading into the third week of the season.

This week State will be without the services of tight end and former West Lowndes High School player Brandon Hill as he tweaked an ankle against Auburn. Defensive back Xavier Grindle is out for the season after tearing his ACL during practice last week.

There is no change in the status of Malcolm Johnson. who remains sidelined with a pectoral injury.

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