MSU football coach Dan Mullen grimaces while watches his football team play at Kentucky Saturday. The Bulldogs won the game 27-14 and moved up to No. 19 in The Associated Poll this week. (Photo by Garry Jones, AP)
Fresh off a 27-14 win over Kentucky the No. 19 Mississippi State Bulldogs are turning their attention to a talented group of Tennessee Volunteers who will be in Starkville on Saturday looking to ruin Stateâ€™s perfect 5-0 start to the 2012 campaign.
While the Vols enter with a 3-2 record, MSU head coach Dan Mullen is fully aware of just how dangerous Tennessee can be.
â€śThey are an extremely explosive offense," Mullen said during Sunday's weekly media teleconference. "You see that with some of the numbers they put up throwing the football. We are going to have our hands full with a traditional power team like Tennessee. Their two losses were to two good teams and they were close losses.â€ť
One reason the Vols are so concerning is the play of quarterback Tyler Bray.
â€śHeâ€™s got a big arm and is a very accurate passer," Mullen said. "He finds away to keep plays alive when he needs to, he can stand in the pocket when he needs to. When he gets on, he can really throw the football. A guy that can throw the football can beat any coverage and he can do that.â€ť
For the Bulldogs, they will continue to focus on keeping their foot on the gas.
â€śWe get out there, get a lead on people and we take our foot off the gas," Mullen said. "You canâ€™t do that. The positive thing is that we are winning games and (are getting) up big on people, but what we have to do is continue to execute at a very high level and keep our focus for all 60 minutes even when we have a lead.â€ť
Certainly Mullen and the coaching staff would like to fix the issues that allow teams to hang around, but they are pleased with the fact they are doing what they have to do to get the wins.
â€śThe nice thing about it is even when weâ€™ve been up and we start to slip a little bit, when we need to make plays, we make plays,â€ť Mullen said. â€śWe havenâ€™t just put people away but when weâ€™ve had to make plays, weâ€™ve made plays to win the game.â€ť
At this point, Mullen feels pretty good about knowing what his team is and what it can do down the stretch.
â€śWeâ€™ve got a pretty good idea of who we are as a team as weâ€™ve got to continue to improve that as we go forward,â€ť Mullen said. â€śEvery week, our games are going to continue to get bigger and I think our guys understand that.â€ť
Heâ€™s also quick to point out his team understands just how big this weekâ€™s game is but this week is much more about staying focused on the goals for the season.
â€śWe talk about what our goals are and our goals are still alive here in the SEC West,â€ť Mullen said. â€śIf you going to have an opportunity to go win an SEC championship or win your division, youâ€™ve got to go win your home games and weâ€™ve stressed that all along. They know how big this game is.â€ť
The Bulldogs and the Volunteers will have a Saturday night showdown with a 8 p.m. kick this weekend.
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