The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

July 17, 2013

SEC MEDIA DAYS: Mullen a veteran of SEC Media Days

By Jonathan Deal

Hoover — HOOVER — Slotted in between four new SEC head coaches, it was obvious Wednesday this was not Dan Mullen’s first trip to SEC Media Days. The Mississippi State head coach handled the media’s questions with the same monotonous coach-speak as the most-veteran coaches.

After playing a cupcake opponent to open the season in his first four seasons in Starkville, Mullen’s 2013 squad will play a marquee game opener against Oklahoma State in Houston.

“You know what, I think it gets the attention of the players a lot more,” said Mullen about playing the Cowboys. “ I think during training camp a lot of times, they're looking at the season as a whole, how it's coming, how they're preparing the season as a whole. I think the sense of urgency starting with a big-time game like we're going to have to start the year off, I think that really draws that urgency right from day one that the clock is ticking to kickoff.”

As in previous seasons, Mullen wouldn’t name the “other team in the state” by name, but was complimentary about what new Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze accomplished in his first season with the Rebels.

“They’ve come up and are starting to create some stir,” said Mullen of his rival. “I think certainly when you go around the state of Mississippi, it will make Thanksgiving night this fall a pretty important day throughout the whole state.”

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones is scheduled to speak at 12:50 p.m. CST