MWN Mailbag: Defensive Coordinator Edition


I thought this might be a slow week for the mailbag, and then Geoff Collins decided to head off to Florida and be their defensive coordinator. Needless to say, most of the questions I received were asking about our Defensive Coordinator position. There were some others as well, so let me tackle those first.

The person who asked my first question wanted to remain anonymous, so I will respect their request and tackle it first.

"I know Nick Fitzgerald ran the option in high school and was going to be the primary scout team quarterback for bowl preparation, but do you think Staley choosing to go play basketball and missing out on so many practices will hurt his chances of becoming the starting quarterback down the line? And what do you think the idea is with having two quarterbacks in the same class that obviously intend to start one day?"

Since this question was asked, we have had a little more information come to light. It turns out, Elijah Staley had knee surgery this week and Mullen said he doesn’t expect him to be back until camp in August at the earliest. Because of that, Staley won’t be participating with the basketball team either.

Once Prescott is gone from the program, I’m sure Mullen will say that Williams is going to be the quarterback. I don’t think it will stay that way, but I think it is where Mullen will start. Based off of what we have seen from Williams, I don’t think he is going to have what it takes to keep both Staley and Fitzgerald on the bench. I’d love to be wrong about that. When it comes to having two quarterbacks in the same recruiting class, I think Mullen just liked what he saw in both players. Mullen might try to play both of them when the time comes, but that would be a mistake.  One of them will completely outplay the other. When that happens, we have to stick with the guy who does it. Despite the fact that neither has played a down of college football, a lot of State fans have set themselves up as Staley or Fitzgerald guys.

Regardless of how people feel about either player, Fitzgerald is going to have a clear advantage when it comes time to figure out who is going to lead this team’s offense. Fitzgerald will have the experience of two sets of bowl practices, two sets of spring practices, and two spring games that Staley won’t have. That’s a major jump on the competition. Staley is probably the more athletic of the two, but he will have an uphill climb to make up the ground Fitzgerald has gained.

It’s way too early to tell, but it could have an impact. Depending on how much you believe CJ Johnson, the departure of Manny Diaz is what caused him to flip to Ole Miss. There were some recruits who sounded disappointed on Twitter, but I think we will keep most, if not all, of the recruits that Collins was recruiting.

We all know that Mullen wasn’t happy with the defense’s performance after the Egg Bowl, but I don’t think one game would make Mullen want to see his rising star Defensive Coordinator just up and leave. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t see that happening. I think Mullen wanted him to stay and tried his best to to portray those feelings to Coach Collins.

These are all somewhat related, so I will just tackle them all at once. People asking for Diaz back is interesting. He did great at MTSU, and then turned our defense around in 2010. He got off to a good start in 2011 with Texas, but then it all fell apart in 2012 and 2013. He has improved Louisiana Tech’s defense this year, even if they aren’t world beaters. I don’t think we go that direction, but I wouldn’t be shocked if we did. Texas was in an awful situation when he got there, and Brown needed a scapegoat. Diaz was the sacrificial lamb. We aren’t getting Pruitt. We won’t pay enough to get him from Georgia, and I think that is one of the reasons Collins left. Despite the raise he got last season, Collins was never going to make what he could at other schools in the same position. I honestly believe that is one of the reasons it has taken so long to get the contract extension for Mullen worked out. Mullen knows that if he is ever going to have the success he wants at Mississippi State, he is going to need to up the amount of money he pays his assistants. I think that is a big piece of the contract negotiations for Stricklin and Mullen’s agent.

Pelini just signed on with Youngstown State. I think it is safe to rule him out.

Now Aranda from Wisconsin is an interesting name. I don’t know if he went to Oregon State as well, but if he isn’t, it wouldn’t be a bad idea. One of the reasons people believe Andersen left was because Wisconsin simply didn’t pay enough. With the right package, we might could lure Aranda here. The Wisconsin defense was rock solid until the Big 10 Championship game, so it’s not a bad thought.

I haven’t heard that he hasn’t, so I think it is safe to assume he did. It’s the respectable thing to do. In today’s society, if he just bolted without saying anything to the players, we will hear about it. So if no one starts talking about it in the next day or two, I think it is safe to assume that he did.

I love off topic questions. Jonathan needs some help, and I live to serve. You said girlfriend, so it makes the task at hand a little more difficult. It could be a girlfriend of 2 months and you are just getting started. It could be two years and you might be thinking this girl is the one. So let’s explore some options.

Jewelry is always good. I don’t know what your budget is, but you can normally find decent pieces of jewelry for a wide range of prices. Take a look at what she has, and stay in that realm. If she doesn’t wear a lot of yellow gold, go with white gold. If she has talked about needing a new pair of earrings, necklace or whatever for some outfit she likes to wear, use that.

If jewelry is not an option, go to the devil himself. And by devil I mean Pinterest. Every woman alive has a Pinterest account and they are always pinning these fabulous ideas they have on to that site. Then they spend the next year stressing themselves out because they didn’t do all the things they wanted on their boards or feel like a failure because of it. I hate that site. But it can come in handy here. If she has a Pinterest account, get on her page and look at all the stuff she has pinned. There has to be something on there that can give you an idea.

If none of those are an option, think back to your kindergarten roots and make her something. Now, it better be something that is slightly higher quality than what a kindergartener could do, but spending the time and putting in the effort to make something will melt your gal. You could do a scrapbook of your time together. You could print her favorite picture of the two of you and make a really nice frame for it. If you go this route, it doesn’t necessarily have to look great, it just needs to look like you poured some significant time into it.  The effort is the key to this idea. If it looks like you threw something together in five minutes, I wouldn’t plan on doing any ring shopping in the near future.

That’ll do it for this week’s mailbag. If you want your question answered in next week’s edition, hit me up.