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By LEE ADAMS
Saturday was another day of two-a-days for the Mississippi State Bulldogs, but unlike the days before where head coach Dan Mullen was pretty much pleased with the overall effort, they turned a 180 to the displeasure of Mullen.
"I'm disappointed today," said Mullen. "We have a lot of guys feeling sorry for themselves, because it's hot and they're tired."Â
Mullen understands that in the SEC West feeling sorry for yourself doesn't help the team win.
"This is the SEC West, we got five of the six teams ranked in the top 25," said Mullen. "You can't be feeling sorry for yourself, you have to improve every single day if you want to win in this league."
The Bulldogs goal is the win the West and reach the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, and Mullen knows the hard work it takes to reach that goal, and what the Bulldogs did Saturday morning isn't good enough.
"We have to play much harder," said Mullen. "The expectations I have for my guys is way higher than I saw today. We expect to win the West, but what we gave today is not going to get it done."
This time of year some teams deal with fatigue creeping up on the players, but Mullen isn't going to allow that to happen.
"We're not going to let it creep up on us," said Mullen. "Not if we are going to win a championship."
The Bulldogs, who began scrimmaging more over the past few days, mixed in some situational drills Saturday morning to mix things up.
"We did more game situations today," said Mullen. "We did more third downs with backs against the wall and two-point plays, kind of like a regular practice."
Mullen wants warm practices and with a heat index in the 100's, his wish was granted on Saturday.Â
"I want it to be nice and hot so they will fight through it and maybe get mentally tougher," Mullen said. "I hope it stays hot so we can get outside, because when we go inside it kind of gives them a break. We want to push our guys to the limit so we can see how far they can go."
For the Bulldogs to rebound from the disappointing practice, Mullen leans on his older players to fix the problems.
"They have to set the standard," said Mullen. "The other guys are going to watch them and what they are doing, so if they are going hard and playing with relentless effort, then we expect the whole team to do that."
The guys he expects to do that are the familiar names.
"On the defensive side of the ball it's Fletcher Cox up front and Charles Mitchell and Wade Bonner in the back,"Â said Mullen. "On the offensive side, it's got to be Chris Relf, Quentin Saulsberry, Vick Ballard and Chad Bumphis. The guys who have played a lot have to step up."
Despite Saturday morning's disappointment, there has been a lot of positive things coming out of the camp. One thing is the health of the Bulldogs.
"That's credit to Matt Balis and his staff," said Mullen. "He does a great job of getting our guys ready."
The Bulldogs should be able to rebound from a disappointing Saturday as they continue to prepare for the upcoming season.