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Fast start: Bulldogs looking to improve on offense

November 6, 2012

Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen stares at the jumbo monitor in their NCAA college football game against Texas A&M. (Photo by Rogelio V. Solis, AP)

Every week in the Southeastern Conference is a grind, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

This week the No. 22 Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-2, 3-2) face one of the top defenses in the nation against No. 9 LSU (7-2, 3-2). The Bulldogs have lost 12-straight games to the Tigers and 19 of 20.

MSU head coach Dan Mullen knows the type of talent LSU has on the defensive side of the ball.

“You look at the talent they have, (and) they have talent across the board," Mullen said during his Monday press conference. "(They have) tremendous talent on the defensive side of the ball. You notice, whenever they list the top draft picks by position, a lot of defensive players from LSU seem to be on that list, so,
(they have) a lot of talent, even though they are young. That just makes them even scarier (with) the youth they have on that side of the ball.”

MSU has gotten off to slow starts offensively the past two weeks. That has to change this week for the Bulldogs to get a win.

"It should be a great challenge for us," Mullen said. "We’re going to have to come out play as always when you’re playing Southeastern Conference games. Especially here in the West, you’re going to have to bring your A-game every single week.”

MSU offensive coordinator Les Koenning believes the defenses have had nothing to do with the slow starts.

"We did some things, (and) shot ourselves in the foot," Koenning said. "We're going down the field and jump offsides. Obviously, they didn't have anything to do with that. We did. Those are things we've got to correct. The thing is execution and if we put ourselves in manageable third-down situations, we're going to be in good shape. You start getting into unmanageable third-down situations and it becomes a hard situation to get (out of) and I think that's what we have to be aware of, especially in this game."

The Bulldogs found themselves down 24-0 at halftime to both Alabama and Texas A&M the past two weeks. Halftime adjustments were made by Mullen and his staff, but it wasn't good enough to overcome the poor effort displayed in the first half.

“We did some good things at halftime, but obviously not enough to bring us back to win the game," Mullen said. "We did a nice job making a tweak or two that put us in a position to be successful, but not enough to win the game.”

Missed tackles falls
on coaching staff

Mississippi State missed many tackles last week against Texas A&M.

MSU defensive coordinator Chris Wilson believes as coaches things could have been done differently.

"Obviously we could have done a much better job as coaches of getting our guys in the right position," Wilson said. "It's not like running against a wishbone team. You can't duplicate the speed of it, until you're actually there. The one thing that makes it very different is (Johnny) Manziel. When you do cover guys, he is able to get out of the pocket. The biggest thing is being able to control him in the pocket. We weren't able to do that."

Going forward, Wilson and the defense are excited about getting better. This week they face a less than stellar offense in LSU.

"We get to fight another day," Wilson said. "I'm excited about our guys. We have a lot of work for us this week, obviously with LSU. From last week, we know there's room for improvement. Our guys are excited to get back in there. We as coaches are excited to get back in there."

Game time set
for Arkansas

Mississippi State's Nov. 17 home game against Arkansas has been set for 11:21 a.m. on the SEC Network.
This is the second time the Bulldogs have played in that time slot all year long.

The Bulldogs took a 27-14 victory over Kentucky in Lexington in their only appearance on the SEC Network this season.

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