Dan Mullen: the shorts, the smirk and the postgame comments

Dan Mullen’s body language and general dismissive attitude about the South Alabama loss has Mississippi State fans fuming.

It’s one thing to lose to a 28-point underdog. Actually, it’s a HUGE thing and we’ve written ad nauseam about it over the last two days. But when you throw in Dan Mullen’s shorts, his smirk and his postgame comments in the mix it makes things even worse.

The shorts: here the thing – you’re an SEC head football coach and you’re wearing khaki shorts to an actual game. That’s bush league. I was shocked to see it – I don’t recall seeing any coach wear shorts, ever. This isn’t the practice field. It looks unprofessional.

If you’re in the business world, and you met with a man wearing shorts, what would you think? Chances are your first impression of him would be pretty low because it’s just not a generally accepted practice of successful people.

It flows along with the whole “country club” atmosphere WMD discussed yesterday. Prior to this game was Mullen sipping coffee with his legs propped up on his desk watching Saturday morning cartoons? Probably. Either that or he was giggling with Coach Hevesy, Knox, Gonzalez and Sallach about the poker game they played on Friday night.

The smirk: Mullen has done this before. He kind of smiles when something bad happens. Maybe it’s a personality mechanism that he uses, but it rubs some folks the wrong way. In this case, the camera caught him let loose his little grin after Westin Graves missed the 28 yard field goal.

Initially, I didn’t like seeing it. While I’m in the middle of being ticked off about losing to South Alabama I’m certainly not smiling, and hate to see the leader of our football program seemingly not care if we do. But, it is just a game – there are far more important things in life, so do I really need to take it so seriously that I feel everyone needs to be miserable about this?

Dan does need to work on this, however, because it affects the perception fans have regarding his performance. He doesn’t have to throw his head set and cuss the kicker, just don’t grin when it happens. Who does this?

The postgame comments

You’d expect the head coach of a SEC team who just lost to a Sun Belt team at home to come to the press conference with some fire and tell the media how unacceptable the loss was and how he’s going to bust his tail and chew some butts until this team gets their act together.

Instead, you get a Mullen who is calm and seemingly not upset at all. Either he doesn’t care that much or he knows this team is really bad so this wasn’t all that unexpected.

Here’s the video:

What’s Next?

There are a lot of long-time Bulldog fans, including ones that follow the program incredibly close who have contacted me and expressed their concern regarding Mullen’s attitude. This isn’t a new phenomenon – he’s acted like this before. In particular, the last two Egg Bowls which featured a lackluster performance and big losses.

I really think Dan needs to work on his PR. You could say he doesn’t “owe” it to the fans to do anything, but when you consider his $4 million + salary comes from the fans, I’d say he does. Whether or not his body language is indicative of his actual feelings, the perception is that it is. And with some of the play we’re seeing on the field, it’s hard to figure it isn’t.

Dan Mullen is one of the greatest coaches in Mississippi State history, there’s no doubt about that. And there’s no doubt he’s becoming a victim of his own success. But at the same time the SEC has elevated the floor for MSU from where it was 10 years ago….so the program’s success isn’t all Mullen.

He can’t act like he’s the greatest thing ever and the fans are his simple-minded minions who must accept his every move. We were here before him and we’ll be here when he’s gone – this is our program, so please show us a little respect and act like you give a damn.