No time to waste: Bulldogs have to prepare fast for more Tigers
MSU football coach Dan Mullen gathers his players around during a timeout at Auburn Saturday. (Photo by Dave Martin, AP)
After dropping a heartbreaking loss in Auburn Saturday, No. 25 Mississippi State will have to quickly rebound.
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The Bulldogs host No. 3 LSU on Thursday night which means no day off after a very physical game.
MSU head coach Dan Mullen isn't going to let his players get their heads down as they have another Southeastern Conference opponent to prepare for.
"We've got a short week so we have to jump right back into preparation," said Mullen. "We can't dwell too much on last week. We have one of the best teams, if not the best team in the country, coming here to play for our home opener."
Shaking off the tough loss can be difficult for a team, but Mullen, who is in his third year at State, isn't concerned about that.
â€śSince Iâ€™ve been here weâ€™ve always rebounded pretty strongly,â€ť said Mullen. â€śWe handle adversity pretty well around here. Itâ€™s kind of what our program is based on. Year round we try to put them in adverse situations. I think theyâ€™ll bounce back and be ready to come to work today (Sunday).â€ť
During the 41-34 loss to Auburn, MSU lost two offensive linemen in starting left tackle James Carmon and starting center Quinton Saulsberry to knee injuries.
Carmon had an MRI done on Saturday and he will not require surgery. According to Mullen, Saulsberry had a "sprained knee" but good news there as well as he also will not need surgery.
As for the linemen being ready for Thursday's home opener, it is unsure.Â
The injuries must have opened some eyes that the Bulldogs aren't very deep on the front line, but Mullen plans on getting some players up to speed this week.
"We have to get our young guys ready to play," said Mullen. "They've taken reps as twos and now they are going to have to step up and take some reps as one's this week. We're going to try and rest and get our older guys healthy, so they are going to get a lot of experience in practice. If they have to go in the game, at least they've been reping with the ones."
Despite the two injuries, MSU was able to gain 531 yards of total offense against the defending national champs, but Mullen still sees a lot of work to be done.
"There is a lot of things we need to clean up on offense," said Mullen. "I thought our line played pretty well, but we didn't hit the home run ball at all. We had three opportunities to make big plays and we missed them."
With three trips into the red zone, State only got six points. If the Bulldogs could have found a way into the end zone on those three trips, the outcome could have went in their favor, but the offensive mistakes were not the only ones on the day.
Mullen wasn't happy with the defense after Saturday's loss and said it was a "practice problem." They will have little time to fix the defensive problems but Mullen is going to get them to set their sights on one thing.
"We have to focus on tackling," said Mullen. "That's going to be key for us, but with it being a short week, we have to keep things as simple as possible."
Preparing for a game in only five days can be a challenge in itself, but the task won't be made any easier for the Bulldogs with another set of SEC Tigers coming in.Â