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'That's on me': Mullen accepts responsibility for MSU's 38-13 loss to A&M

November 4, 2012

Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen said it is ultimately his responsibility to put the players in the right places to be successful. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen was still accepting blame on Sunday afternoon.

After Saturday's 38-13 loss to the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday, there could have been quite a bit of finger-pointing going on.

Mullen continued to insist during his Sunday teleconference that the reason for the problems ultimately rest on his shoulders.

Defensively, the No. 22 (Associated Press) Bulldogs struggled finishing plays and finishing tackles against Texas A&M.

Many of those missed tackles came against Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel, but Mullen saw many other missed tackles.

"Not one individual player but we had a lot of missed tackles on a lot of different players, so that's on me making sure we have the guys in the right position to make those tackles," Mullen said. 

Some of the missed tackles were due to the athleticism of Manziel and his ability to dodge tacklers. Mullen saw a couple of things that led to the missed tackles and poor defensive play.

"A lot of things were out of fits," Mullen said. "We were misaligned a bunch of times and had some poor calls. If you have poor assignments, poor fundamentals and poor calls, that's not going to result very well. That's on me to make sure we have the guys in the right position, in the right defense and executing the right way." 

Offensively, MSU struggled as well. The Bulldogs were shut out in first half for the second week in a row. The offense has struggled out of the gate the last two Saturdays.

"We didn't execute very well at all on that side of the ball and had a lot of mistakes, especially early in the game," Mullen said. "We cleaned some things up as the game went along but they were things you just can't do in order to win those games. We had two red zone possessions and came away with no scores. If we score on those, I think we're looking at a completely different game and that's just looking at it from one aspect of it. Offensively, there's a lot of things we have to get cleaned up." 

Changing some things on the offensive side of the ball is something Mullen sees as a knee-jerk reaction.

"We don't get panicked about all this stuff," Mullen said. "We just have to improve, coach them, get them better and ready to play." 

For the offense, things don't get much easier this Saturday. MSU travels to Baton Rouge to meet the No. 9 LSU Tigers for a 6 p.m. kickoff on ESPN.

"They're one of the top defenses and one of the top teams in the country," Mullen said. "That was evident in what I got to see of that game (against Alabama Saturday night). For us, we're always going to have our hands full and it'll be a great challenge. When you're playing one of the best teams in the country, you're going to have to make plays." 

This week the focus and intensity is something Mullen believes won't be hard to come by.

"Well, that's why you come here to play in these games," Mullen said. "Believe it or not, we're two 7-2 teams going to play here in the middle of November on Saturday night in Baton Rouge, so that makes it a pretty big game at this time of the season. If you can't get up for it, then you got a lot of problems. You must not love football." 

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