Football is officially here.
Coach Dan Mullen and the Mississippi State Bulldogs opened fall camp on Thursday afternoon and it didn’t come a moment too soon.
“It was great to be back on the field,” Mullen told the media gathered in the Bryan Building following the afternoon practice. “It sure seemed like a long time since we’ve been out there. It is what I love to do, it is what our coaches love to do, and our players love to do so it was great to be back out there.”
The team spent the day knocking off the rust and reacquainting itself with the routine that is MSU football practice, but at the end of the day, the head coach was pleased with the carryover from the spring.
“It looked like there was (some retention)," Mullen said. "Sometimes it is hard to tell since we’re just getting out there. I was pleased with what appeared to be some retention. We weren’t crisp on every play on offense or defense, but there wasn’t confused looks on people’s faces either.”
The Bulldogs welcomed several new faces to the practice field for the first time as the majority of the incoming class hit the field, and according to Mullen they fit right in.
“I think a huge part of it is in conditioning,” Mullen said. “I don’t see that shock out there. I think the tempo of college football for a lot of guys is a much faster practice than what they are used to in high school, a lot more things going on. When you look at the fact that they have been able to condition with the team over the summer, they are more prepared.”
The next couple of days will be spent getting back into the swing of things when Mullen hopes to get a great amount of coaching done.
“I want a lot of learning to get accomplished,” Mullen said. “In day one, it is about getting repetitions for guys, (and) getting them comfortable. It is hard to evaluate guys until they are fully comfortable with what we expect them to do.”
As for the new look offense that players have hinted towards, Mullen says there isn’t a single new play installed for this season. However, he did admit he’s shuffled the playbook a bit to better suit this year’s personnel.
“Every single year, we use 70 percent of our offense," Mullen said. "I would say that probably 50 percent never changes. That last 20 percent can be fit on each year’s team so it is really that last 20 percent that has been in the offense before that will have a bigger emphasis than in the past.
“You look at reps. The ones have around 500 snaps during training camp so you take those reps and break it down into what you’re going to practice. Something you’re going to emphasize gets 80 snaps and something you’re going to deemphasize will get 10.”
The Bulldogs have today off in order to complete second semester summer school exams. They will return to the practice fields on Saturday for a split practice with a morning session to begin at 9 a.m. and an evening session to start at 7 p.m. Both practice sessions will be open to the public.