Inside My Head

(insert witty tagline here so people will think I’m cool)

Posts Tagged ‘chris peterson’

Dan “The Man” Mullen Hired As MSU Head Football Coach

Posted by Kevin on December 14, 2008

After a two-week coaching search process that should earn Greg Byrne an award from the CIA on keeping things private, Dan Mullen was introduced this week as Mississippi State’s 32nd head football coach.  Mullen’s name popped up on the rumor mill from time to time, but never really garnered as much steam as names like Chris Peterson from Boise State or Kevin Wilson from Oklahoma.  With the way Byrne conducted his search in a shroud of privacy, every name Bulldog fans threw out there was just speculation.  In the end, Byrne hired the man that he knew he wanted within minutes of talking to him.

Mullen, 36, has 15 years of collegiate coaching experience, all on offense.  His first major collegiate coaching job came in 1998 where he served as an offensive graduate assistant on Syracuse’s Big East conference championship and Orange Bowl team.  In 1999, Mullen moved to Notre Dame to work for Bob Davie on the Irish’s squad that played in the Fiesta Bowl.  While at Notre Dame, Mullen worked alongside another young coach named Urban Meyer.  In 2001 Mullen followed Meyer to Bowling Green where he served as quarterbacks coach.  In 2002, Bowling Green quarterback Josh Harris threw for 2,452 yard, rushed for 737 yards and finished the season as the nation’s 3rd leading scorer.

Meyer and Mullen moved to Utah in 2003 where Mullen served as quarterbacks coach.  While at Utah, Mullen developed quarterback Alex Smith into the eventual #1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft.  Under Mullen’s tutelege, Smith also earned the Sporting News Player of the Year award, was Utah’s first finalist for the Heisman Trophy, was a finalist for the Davey O’Brien and Walter Camp National Player of the Year awards, and lead the Utes to a 12-0 record and Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma.  The 2004 Utes finished the season with the 3rd highest scoring offense in the nation.

The Meyer/Mullen tandem moved to Florida in 2005 where Mullen has served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.  In 2005, Chad Jackson was a Biletnikoff award semifinalist for receivers while setting a Florida single-season record for receptions in a season.  In 2006, the Gators won the BCS Championship while setting more school, conference, and national offensive records.  In 2007, he coached Tim Tebow as the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy.  Tebow also won the Maxwell, Davey O’Brien, and 78th Sullivan awards.  The Gators offense was the only team in the country to rush and pass for at least one touchdown in every game.

So… everywhere Mullen has been they’ve won.  He has learned from one of the best collegiate defensive minds in Bob Davie, one of the best X’s and O’s coaches ever in Paul Pasqualoni, and an offensive genius in Meyer.

When Byrne started the coaching search, he listed the qualities he wanted in a coach.  He wanted someone young and aggressive, full of energy and a tireless work ethic, someone with a passion for recruiting and someone who was on their way up in the coaching world; not someone who had already peaked.  While he didn’t say it publicly, Byrne wanted someone to get Bulldog fans instantly excited although it will be another eight months before he coaches his first game for MSU.

I was born and raised an MSU Bulldog.  I bleed maroon.  I grew up watching my beloved Dogs win maybe 5 games a year in a good year with the occasional surprise bowl team.  I loved them during the infamous Tech-and-10 (1 win, 10 losses for the uninformed) and I loved them during Jackie Sherrill‘s best years where we had the 1998 eventual national champs Tennessee on the ropes in the SEC title game.  The only time I can recall just not caring what happened in Starkville on football Saturdays have been the last couple of years under Sylvester Croom.  I didn’t like the hire when they got him but I supported my team, but week after week he proved just how unprepared he was to be a head coach.  After the 3-2 Auburn debacle this season, I vowed to never attend another Mississippi State home game until Croom was gone.  Thankfully, Byrne took care of that.

Mullen has said all the right things in his fan meet-and-greets and press conferences.  He’s talked about the spread offense and how it will be tooled to fit the players he has to work with; not forcing the offense on a bunch of players who can’t run it (think Croom’s garbage west coast offense).  He’s talked about putting together a staff full of more young and energetic coaches who have a passion for recruiting and keeping Mississippi’s best athetes not only in state but in Starkville.  While I’m sure he will need to do some recruiting out of state, there is no doubt that there is superior talent in our high schools.  Talent enough to compete for conference championships.

I cannot wait for next fall when Mullen’s first squad takes the field.  Just the thought of an offense that will score some points is enough to get me back to God’s country.

Advertisements

Posted in Mississippi State, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Who’s It Going To Be?

Posted by Kevin on December 3, 2008

As a rabid Mississippi State fan, I can’t stop refreshing Kyle Veazey‘s blog and the Locker Room forum at BulldawgJunction, and constantly checking my phone for updates on Kyle’s Twitter page.  I know it’s not likely that Greg Byrne will have our new coach hired for a few more weeks, but keeping up with the latest rumors and speculation is a sick addiction that I cannot fight.

But keeping up with the rumor mill also leads to a lot of disappointment and wondering why hot coaches at non-BCS schools aren’t beating down our door wanting to take their shot in the mighty SEC.  I know Mississippi State isn’t exactly the Florida Gators but we’re an SEC school and a coach can win here.

Many of the hottest young coaches in the country are making statements that they are not interested in coaching my beloved Bulldogs.  Chris Peterson at Boise State; Brian Kelly at Cincinnati; Gary Patterson at TCU.  All three claim to be more than happy with their current positions, and why shouldn’t they be?  None of them coach in the cut-throat SEC but have been wildly successful and are due to be paid SEC-like salaries.  Now, that’s not to say that their public comments aren’t entirely true, that there may really be interest, but aside from anything Nick Saban says, I tend to believe it when a coach publicly states he has no interest in another job.

Which brings us back to the speculation and rumor mill about who may actually want the MSU job.  One name in particular that surfaced early on and hasn’t let up is Derek Dooley from Louisiana Tech.  Dooley carries the rare dual role of head football coach and athletic director and has done a lot of good for LA Tech in his short time at the school.  He may be the guy, who knows, but I want Byrne to hire a proven winner.  I do not want someone who has had two decent years at a WAC school jumping head first into the SEC.

Other names that keep popping up are Ellis Johnson, our former defensive coordinator under Croom who is now on staff under Steve Spurrier at South Carolina; Tommy Bowden, who was ousted at Clemson for not meeting their crazy Alabama-like expectations; Skip Holtz, the head coach at East Carolina and son of hall of famer coach Lou Holtz; Charlie Strong, defensive coordinator at Florida; Jeff Bower, former head coach at USM; Turner Gill, former Nebraska all-american and current head coach at Buffalo; Phillip Fulmer, the recently fired head coach at Tennessee; and perhaps the most intriguing name, Tommy Tuberville who many speculate may be let go at Auburn.

Among those names I keep seeing, the only two that I care for are Charlie Strong and Tommy Tuberville.  I wanted State to look at Strong when they hired Croom.  He’s young, energetic, experienced, and most importantly he coaches in the SEC.  Strong was the first black coordinator in the SEC when South Carolina hired him in 1999 as defensive coordinator.  Florida hired Strong as their defensive coordinator prior to the 2003 season.  When Ron Zook left Florida for Illinois with one game remaining in the 2004 season Strong served as the team’s interim head coach for the Peach Bowl loss to the Miami Hurricanes.  Strong is well known for his smothering defenses and well-mannered personality and deserves an opportunity at being head coach…. somewhere.  Maybe at State?  I don’t know, but I hope Byrne takes a look at him.

Many fans around the SEC hate Tuberville.  I think he’s great and would love to have him in Starkville.  Tubby cut his teeth as a defensive coach and defensive coordinator at Miami where he coached on a national championship team.  He was also defensive coordinator for Texas A&M in 1994 for a team that went 10-1.  Tuberville got his first head coaching job at Ole Miss in 1995 before moving to Auburn in 1999 where he as guided the Tigers to eight bowl games in ten years, including four conference division titles and one SEC conference title.

A lot of State fans want Byrne to make a hire than will generate a “big splash” in the conference.  They want a big name that will generate a lot of excitement.  They want someone who will run a wide open offense that will blow up the scoreboard.  I don’t care about all that.  What I want is simple.  I want a coach that will win more ballgames than he loses; a coach that will win us bowl games and have us in contention for conference titles.  I don’t care if that means we get a coach with the personality of a wet mop, or a coach that runs the most boring offense in history.  If it wins ball games, I want it. 

Ask Alabama fans how they feel about Gene Stallings.  That man has zero personality and had an offense that would put you to sleep watching it, but all he did was win five bowl games, four division titles, one conference title, and a national championship in just seven years at the helm.  Do you think they cared how boring his teams were while they were winning all those games?  I don’t think so either

Posted in Mississippi State, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »