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MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE

September 9, 2017

Dan Mullen

Ruston, Louisiana

Mississippi State - 57, Louisiana Tech - 21

DAN MULLEN: -- forward defensively. Offensively we've got to clean some things up. We've got to constantly execute cleaner throughout the course of a game, but I think overall we played well and get ready for league play next week.

Q. The impact a guy like Simmons can have not just on defense but making special teams plays like that?
DAN MULLEN: That was crazy, wasn't it? Safe punt, blocks the punt, scores, and, you know, he was going crazy. That was pretty exciting to see, you know what I mean? He's a guy that works his tail off. Not -- I know he's a very talented player, but don't mistake that for the fact of how hard he works every day at practice to be able to put himself in a position to make those plays.

Q. Can you explain the 80-something yard loss by --
DAN MULLEN: That's what I'm sayin' that's crazy stuff right there. Like our guys are saying, we might get top-10 play of the week, with Jeffrey with two touchdowns in the game, and then we're going to get top-10 worst play of the week. Was that like -- I'm like watchin' it and I'm like just pick it up. It was like -- honestly! (Laughter.) Looked worse than Liverpool did this morning (Away from mic.) Awful.

But the -- it was like a -- (Away from mic.)

Q. You ever seen third and 93?
DAN MULLEN: Has there ever been? Can't get much more than that -- you really -- I mean -- it's gotta be top-10 in college football history, I gotta say, because --

Q. Or third and goal, 93.
DAN MULLEN: Third and goal, third and 93 just not a lot of those in college football.

Q. Michael Story got thrown in at left guard today. What did you think of him?
DAN MULLEN: We'll see on film. Like I said, the offense at times, I thought, executed fairly well. We were able to run the ball fairly well today. What did we have? 327, you know, which is big. When you come on the road you want to be able to be -- you know, you come on the road in an environment -- they're ready for this game, a very explosive offense that we were going to play.

A team that's picked to win their conference championship, and you want to be able to establish the run game. We were able to do that and play a bunch of different guys.

Q. Whatever happened to Darryl?
DAN MULLEN: He never showed up. He had that all week, and he hit it, and once we were rolling with Michael a little bit and just kept it going at that point.

Q. Gerri Green had a huge game. What made him effective?
DAN MULLEN: Work ethic. He's another one. I mean, Gerri -- Gerri is poster child-type person, you know what I mean? Great student, leadership committee, everything you ask him to do he's going to do as hard as he possibly can. And, you know, that translates when you watch him play. The energy he plays the game with, the intensity he plays with is pretty special.

Q. The defense were down 9 -0, and they spearheaded a contrast from last year. What have you seen from that unit?
DAN MULLEN: I was pleased with the team. You're on the road. We have a young football team, and we drop down 9-0. Todd does a fantastic job. Everybody just calm down, you know what I mean?

We're down 9-0 on a 2-yard drive and a long pass -- one play for a long pass play, so -- you know what I mean? But I was really pleased that -- he did a great job, our defensive coach calming guys down, and I'm pleased with the leadership on the team. The maturity they have. All of the sudden you're on the road and boy, I mean, you look -- atrocious start, and now we allow the crowd to get excited. Everybody just calmed down and did their job and everybody came out and started making plays.

Q. (Away from mic.)
DAN MULLEN: Yeah, the same deal, you know what I mean? I don't think he started real well, I told him that. I was laughing with him about that. But it shows his maturity, just understanding, not forcing -- coming back and saying, okay, that's fine, I started poor. Yeah, I didn't play real well to start the game, but that's okay, just play the next play, don't worry and keep moving forward.

Q. You had them rolling offensively. What made the run game so good tonight?
DAN MULLEN: We blocked 'em up front, you know what I mean? And that's -- that's what it did. Then you put on top -- I mean, to me, Aeris was running the ball hard, shoot, he only had 9 carries, huh?

Q. Wished he had more?
DAN MULLEN: Well, no, I thought he had some more, because, like I say, I thought he was running hard and physical, you know what I mean? It wasn't -- like you look at Fitz' number, sometimes, Fitz with 10 carries has three or four hard-nosed runs and a lot of runs to the outside and run out-of-bounds or on an option play, you know? And Aeris I thought was churning pretty well and helped -- you know, you expect Fitz to get the bigger runs, more than Aeris, but I thought we blocked and he made some good runs.

Q. What do you think of the targeting call on Cam Dantzler?
DAN MULLEN: Keep my mouth shut. I know this. There is a good chance our AD would have been thrown out of that game. If I know him?

>> It's time to go!

DAN MULLEN: You can tell his maturity as an athletic director. He walked in and was calming me down, and I said would you have been thrown out if there was baseball, and he said probably a good chance of that happening, and I've seen his fire and his maturity to calm down. It is what it is.

Q. (Away from mic.) -- the rotation of running back. What have you seen from him?
DAN MULLEN: The same thing. Him and Kylin, both talented players. You love to get 'em on the field but you gotta see them -- you know, it's one of the hardest things, you know, because if you're a fan you're looking at the film and see these guys running with the ball, but there's a lot of other things you have to do. Like Aeris played a bunch, had 9 carries. There's a lot of other things you have to do and they're still growing and maturing. And Greg is constantly staying with them and trying to accelerate those guys because they're talented backs. We just gotta make sure they can do all the other things when they're not carrying the ball, the right way.

Q. Help those guys mature in a week to play an LSU football team?
DAN MULLEN: They're an excellent football team -- a top-10 football team, you know what I mean? They've got a ridiculous amount of talent. So we gotta -- we gotta take another step forward this week and it's a great challenge for us to prepare harder, practice harder, play harder next Saturday.

Q. Seems like tight ends had several key blocks?
DAN MULLEN: Yeah.

Q. I imagine that opens up a lot of opportunities for you?
DAN MULLEN: One of the great blocks was the block that Farrod made on Fitz' touchdown to start the second half. A lot of times you see that even running and you end up with a hold -- you know a big play and then holding penalty, and he's on a DB, lesser guy, covered him up. Didn't get a great block, finish the play and we end up scoring. I thought they did a pretty good job tonight.

Q. Is there any chance that Cam's play could be reviewed later?
DAN MULLEN: The fact in that it's not an SEC crew, I don't know. We'll call Steve and show see how that works. And we're in Louisiana and that's --

Q. If it stands, he's out the first half next week?
DAN MULLEN: The rule is he would be out for the first half next week.

Q. Kind of like a touchdown play that takes place two seconds after the clock runs out?
DAN MULLEN: We're good.

Q. Thanks, Coach.
DAN MULLEN: I thought I saw that, too, but my vision is not great.

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