HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) – On the heels of a successful 2012 season, Dan Mullen and the Mississippi State Bulldogs have one goal in mind: win consistently.
The Bulldogs finished the 2012 season with an 8-5 record, 4-4 in conference play, and are set up in a position to be able to continue to compete in the SEC West.
"What we've tried to do in building a program at Mississippi State is build consistency, build a team that can consistently win," Mullen said on Wednesday. "As you consistently win, at that point you're going to have the opportunity to go on and continue to take those next steps and go compete, which our ultimate goal is to find a way to get to Atlanta and compete for an SEC Championship."
Offensively, the Bulldogs are led by fifth-year senior Tyler Russell. Russell, who was named to the Davey O'Brien Award watch list on Wednesday, threw for 2897 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2012. His experience will be vital to an offense that loses its top four receivers.
"One comforting factor for us, we're going to play in a big game early, having a fifth-year senior quarterback like Tyler Russell, knows what is expected in big games, what is expected as a leader when he steps out on the field is certainly going to help us," explained Mullen.
Mullen, who is in his fifth year in Starkville, has placed the control of the offense in the hands of Russell. His response has been nothing but positive.
"He shows up every day now with a very businesslike, mature attitude. Again, he's still a young kid. He's a little goofy at times, does some funny, goofy things, tells a lot of jokes. Most of his jokes are bad jokes, too, which makes him even goofier.
"He comes in and understands what has to get accomplished. He understands the work ethic that needs to go in. Like I said, he's understanding why we're doing what we're doing, not just within plays, but why we're doing what we're doing as a football program. When the guy up front, the guy that is the leader of your team, when he understands that, that message gets portrayed throughout the team. When Tyler walks into huddle to speak, stands up in front of team, everyone is going to listen to exactly every word he says. When he understands the message and the direction as a whole that the program is going in, why we're trying to go in that direction, it certainly helps you."
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