Mullen Monday: Another Great Challenge Awaits

Oct 7, 2019 | 0 comments

Dan Mullen held his weekly press conference on Monday afternoon. He recapped the win over Auburn, previewed LSU, updated injuries and more.

Here are the highlights.

  • He thanked the fans for creating a great home-field advantage against Auburn. They played a huge role in the win.
  • The defensive coaching staff put together a great game plan, and the players did a nice job of executing and running to the ball quickly throughout the game, he said. Offensively, it wasn’t the cleanest performance, but they did a good job of flipping the field when they needed to.
  • Injuries: Quarterback Kyle Trask is “good to go,” running back Dameon Pierce has “got a chance to play” and defensive end Jabari Zuniga was cleared to play against Auburn but wasn’t 100 percent. They didn’t want to play him if they didn’t have to. They expect him to be 100 percent healthy this weekend.
  • Mullen said Trask played in front of a raucous crowd at Kentucky and they practice with crowd noise, so the loud environment at LSU won’t be something he hasn’t seen before.
  • It was pointed out to Mullen that they didn’t commit a single defensive penalty against Auburn. He said they were focused and disciplined throughout the game. The defense also did a good job of getting off the field on third down and forcing three-and-outs.
  • Some Auburn fans have demanded that Mullen issue an apology for calling Marlon Davidson’s hit that injured Trask “dirty” during his halftime interview. After reviewing the film, he said that probably wasn’t the right term to use, but college football needs to do a better job of protecting the players. "If those hits would've been on Sunday, they would've been called."
  • The greatest unknown with Trask when he first replaced Feleipe Franks against Kentucky was if the way he practiced would translate to games, Mullen said. He made smart decisions, was accurate and made the right checks at the line in practice, but it’s different in a game.
  • He said "it was kind of neat" for Lamical Perine to break off the longest run since Emmitt Smith with Smith on the sideline. He added that Perine hasn't changed his approach to the game despite his lack of production this season.
  • The plan on the throwback pass from Lucas Krull to Trask was for Trask to catch the ball wide-open, get the first down and slide. If they had known somebody was going to cover him and tackle him, they wouldn’t have called it.
  • On Trask’s three lost fumbles, Mullen said the quarterbacks can’t get hit in practice, so learning to protect the ball in the pocket comes with game experience.
  • He said he doesn’t care about putting up huge offensive statistics or playing at a certain tempo. He just wants to win games. The offense, defense and special teams are all part of the same game plan.
  • He said Joe Burrow "will be the best quarterback we've seen so far this year." He's experienced, can make all the throws and has great skill players around him. He's also deceptively athletic. He added that LSU's done a good job of adapting their offense to their personnel and opening things up.
  • They were able to dial up more pressures in the second half against Auburn because they got the lead and never relinquished it, he said. Auburn liked to run the ball a lot, so putting the pressure on them and dictating the tempo of the game was a key.
  • He doesn’t see any glaring differences between LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s defense this year and previous years. They do a great job of mixing up their fronts and coverages, and they confuse offenses.
  • Mullen said he doesn’t care about Vegas listing the Gators as a 13-point underdog and doesn’t plan on using it as extra motivation.
  • He said the challenge in the SEC isn't the individual games; it's the grind of playing great teams multiple weeks in a row. "That's what makes you want to be at Florida and be a Gator."
  • They created good spacing on Perine's run, and Perine did a good job of breaking the tackle at the line, he said. He did a great job of squaring the safety up and not allowing him to use the sideline as an extra defender. "I guess he was fast enough."
  • He said LSU offensive coordinator Joe Brady has done a good job of opening up their offense and putting their players in the best situations to be successful.
  • Mullen said he thought that since the replay booth could initiate a targeting review, he could challenge it as well. He wasn’t given an explanation for why the replay official didn’t review the play.
  • On SEC Inside following the Kentucky game, Mullen was shown telling his quarterbacks to “admire your throw” in practice. He said admiring their throws helps them maintain their balance and not fall off to one side. Better balance leads to better accuracy.
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