Mississippi State will play its first SEC opponent Saturday as the team hosts LSU in Starkville. The Bulldogs have not beaten LSU at home since 1999. Considering both schools ranks among the Top 4 in the SEC in terms of scoring defense, the game should be a very physical and low-scoring affair.

Here’s a summary of what Mullen said during his appearance on the SEC Coaches Teleconference:

  • We are excited about starting conference play. Huge challenge playing a team with Top 10 talent nationally.
  • How has WR Malik Dear looked? He’s back doing individual things, not yet doing team things. It’s questionable whether he can play this weekend.
  • On LSU’s ability to get hands on passes. Is that scheme or more athleticism? Part of it is scheme, putting guys in position to make plays. A lot of it also is the players they have, they have been getting guys to the NFL for 30 years now. They get put into position and they make the plays.
  • LSU plays a lot of freshmen. What separates a freshman that knows what he’s doing? I think most of the time, you put a freshman out there because you are confident they can do what you are asking them to do.
  • On Jeffery Simmons and his huge game vs La Tech: He’s one of the hardest working guys you will ever see. He had success as a true freshman last year. Sometimes that slows down progression, they don’t work as hard but he’s gone the other way. He’s a defensive leader for us now.
  • Thoughts on LSU’s OL: Big, physical, well coached. They pride themselves on being physical and being able to run the ball and they’ve done that the first two weeks of the season.
  • Why didn’t Leo Lewis start vs La Tech? Has he be been prepared: He didn’t start because Tech was in four wide all game. He’s prepped well. We won’t comment on major NCAA violations at other institutions.
  • Fitzgerald’s progression from last year: His understanding of the offense and the maturity of gameplanning. Really understanding how the plan applies to the defense we are playing. Why are we doing this? Why are we doing that? Understanding that is key and we’ve seen a big step forward in him there.
  • On visiting with Orgeron during his year off between USC and LSU: He spoke at a clinic here. I have tremendous respect for Ed. He hung out with our staff, gave us some advice. Those are great during spring to have coaches come out and see things that you don’t see being so close to the situation.