Oct 12, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen pleads his case to a referee about a call during the game against the Bowling Green Falcons at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Home Stretch Midterm Grade for Mullen

A couple of weeks ago I suggested that Dan Mullen had 5 games to prove what he’s got. Since that’s an odd number, two games will have to do for a mid-term review.

The Good 

MSU has played the #14 and #15 teams on the road in back-to-back weeks (and geographically they’ve gone from one end of the SEC to the other). In both of those games they’ve been able to out gain the opponent in total yards.

The offensive line has played pretty well, showing some improvement. They were able to contain Clowney and had a good day in College Station.

The team has played hard. They weren’t able to fight back against South Carolina but they did put some points on the board vs. A&M to make it interesting.

The Bad

We have lost both games.

The secondary has been giving up BIG plays: 10 of them going for over 15 yard gains (4 vs. USC, 6 vs. aTm).

A&M turned the ball over 3 times and had 10 penalties for 105 yards and we still didn’t win. That was what we needed them to do, but we still didn’t win.

The Ugly

Major miscues:

  • 5 turnovers vs. USC
  • blown coverage
  • blocked punt
  • dropped passes
  • allowing a kickoff return
  • INT in minus territory vs. A&M
  • not scoring off turnovers
  • allowing 3rd & long conversions
  • etc.

Midterm Grade: C-

It’s not all bad. I’ve been harping on playing a full game, and playing a good team close until I’m blue in the face. We made the game on Saturday close, although we did have to come back from a 24 point deficit to do it – I’ll count it though. Getting up off the mat and reversing our 2nd half trend this year gives Mullen a C instead of a D. That is huge and I feel like the depression has been lifted and there is now legitimate reason to believe we can get to six wins. (I’m trying to remain objective and reasoned and not let the fact that I want Mullen to succeed so bad I’ll take any glimmer of hope and run with it).

The road isn’t over yet. Bama comes to town this week and that will be a huge test. Then Arkansas on the road and the Egg Bowl at DWS. So far it’s a passing grade, but not by much. The meat of grade will be determined in the final three weeks. Time to get to work and make some positive noise for this program.

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