During the dawg days of summer, there seems to be heat on top of heat in the state of Mississippi. A dry, barren land where there's no water in sight. That's until Dan Mullen gets ready to start fall camp at the secluded South Farm practice fields. Now he considers himself Starkville's resident rain man.
"The farm started to go pretty good. We did the smart thing and moved inside and, of course, no rain came at all in there," Mullen quipped. "If we wouldn't have moved inside it probably would still be raining and thundering. I'm starting to believe I'm the rainmaker to be honest. It hasn't rained in 10 days. I might start getting some phone calls from different parts of the country wanting me to bring rain."
He might not be able to predict the weather, but Mullen seems to be gathering a lot from the 2013 edition of the Bulldogs from just a week of action. What he sees, he likes as this group seems to be good with change.
"I think our guys adapted to the weather pretty well and had great focus," Mullen said. "We faced a little bit of adversity and we didn't really miss a step so I was proud of our guys for that."
One thing that Mullen himself has to adjust to is the change in schedule with the players' school. With summer classes still going on and carrying into fall camp and ending on Friday, Mullen admits there's a little bit of an obstacle to overcome there, but MSU works through this week with once-a-day practices before moving to two-a-days starting Saturday.
Work now centers on the players going through the installations and learning the craft more than in just drills. This is where the literal men separate themselves from the boys.
None are being looked at during this time more than those talented true freshmen receivers and Mullen is excited about the position as much as the common fan. But he also fills like the older receivers are ready for the challenge.
"Right now the receiver position, having dings here and there and learning to fight through it is a bit of a challenge but it's an opportunity for young guys to come in and play right away," Mullen said confidently. "How we've had it, you have guys like Robert Johnson, Jameon (Lewis) and Joe Morrow have been waiting in the wings; now they step up. It's pretty exciting for young guys to come in and play right away."
Most of the positions on the field are built of players that have had lots of Bulldog experience but, like the wide receivers, cornerbacks are a new, yet talented group that Mullen is just as bullish about.
"Jamerson Love is a guy that we have really high expectations for," Mullen said. "He's kind of bided his time and he's put himself in position to learn to make plays and he's a guy that we're going to depend on. Same with Justin Cox he just took a different route to get here."
One thing that Bulldog fans are questioning across the message boards and water coolers is who of the freshmen will get to see the field in year one. Mullen promises that it won't be anytime soon when the coaches will know.
"You used to have the freshmen practice early. You don't have that anymore so one thing we wanted to do is split practice so you get that time with them because when you get that full team, that personal (relationship) gets lost there. Day one you start adding instillations and you tell them exactly what to do and then you start adding those moving parts so can they start adapting to the moving parts and put that into work on the field because that is what you have to do on Saturdays."
The team now prepares for a morning practice scheduled for around 10 a.m. today. We will get some time with offensive line coach John Hevesy and some of his offensive linemen.
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