Assessing the Damage


Well, plenty of State fans have let their feelings be known about what they thought of Saturday’s performance vs. Texas A&M. To say it plainly, the Bulldogs got their tails whipped.

One of the biggest issues was the lack of preparation that was evident. It’s not that MSU did not prepare for the game, but they didn’t prepare correctly. And then to make matters worse, they didn’t make adjustments. Both sides of the ball were horrible. You can blame that on the coaches.

The players did not provide much either. The lack of fundamentals to block and tackle was very discouraging. And to make matters worse, there were issues with hustle and effort once they got down.

I don’t believe the coaching staff can’t hack it. I don’t believe the players aren’t good enough.

There are several issues that have contributed to where we are today:

  1. The level of competition prior to the Alabama game did not prepare MSU to play in these tougher games. I’m not saying this is MSU’s fault, who could’ve known Auburn and Tennessee would be this poor.
  2. The coaches did not hold the players to a standard (like Saban does) when they weren’t focused in the Troy, South Alabama, and Kentucky games, and so it was easy to put it on cruise control once they got down to A&M.
  3. Starting off 7-0 gave the fans, the players, everyone, an inflated sense of where the team actually was. State thought they had earned respect by beating UT, but that proved to be fool’s gold.

The smoke has cleared, and MSU is coming off its worst loss of the Dan Mullen era (31 points), followed by its 4th worst loss (25 points). Where can we go from here?

For starters, State should still be 9-3 this year. Beating LSU in Baton Rouge at night is a pipe dream, but Arkansas and Ole Miss are not on the same level as Alabama, A&M or LSU….and UPig is coming to Starkville. Mississippi State has a good team, but not a great team. There is still work to do for this program to get to the next level, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take another step forward this year. The opportunity to win 10 games is there…and that would be huge.

To say coaches should be fired at this point is ridiculous. For the most part, the gameplans that have been implemented previously have worked. The offense needs to have more variety and the defense has struggled against teams that can run and pass, but that doesn’t mean these coaches can’t figure it out. They’ve gotten us to 7-2, they aren’t idiots. Give ’em a shot to figure it out. If it doesn’t happen for the rest of the year and everything falls apart, then okay, but let’s not freak out after a couple of poor performances.

To say Dan Mullen was wrong to talk about championships is crazy. What is he supposed to say when his team is 2-0 or 3-0 in the SEC? “Well, we think we’ve got a great shot at 3rd place this year!” I don’t think so. You always strive for a goal. 6 out of 7 teams in each division will not achieve the goal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk about it when you’re still in the hunt. Sorry if he gave the fan’s hopes up.

Finally, Mullen is building a program. I think some of the fans who have gone bonkers will come to realize that as time heals their wounds. I was excited as anyone at the possibilities this year presented, but I was still aware that we may not be as good as our #11 ranking. That’s okay, we are still moving in the right direction. Everything that was done on Saturday is correctable. It’s not like we just can’t compete because we don’t have any players. These games against elite competition are tough, but the good news is MSU is winning all the games they should, and that puts them in position to make it to the next level. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting close.