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August 11, 2011

Bulldogs practice indoors

For the second time this week, rainy Mississippi weather interrupted Dan Mullen and his Bulldogs' training camp. Last time practice was delayed, but with heavy lightning and rain in Starkville, this morning's practice was moved indoors.

Mullen said it didn't affect the practice plan too much, though. Just those pesky kickers.

"[We] just took out a couple kicking game things that we were gonna work on outside that I wanted to make sure we had a full field and the right film to watch after practice," Mullen said. "That's all we really changed."

While important, the kicking game is not Mullen's primary concern at the moment. Since camp began nine days ago, the coaches have been working on installing the fundamentals and nuances of the offense and defense.

Mullen said the last big installation came yesterday and the final one, a bit smaller, comes tomorrow.

"We give the guys a day to digest," Mullen said. "We install it one day and then teach that day and the next day before we do a final installation."

What Mullen looks for in that installation is different depending on what he's watching. He said early in the week that he knows the freshmen may have trouble keeping up. With the youngsters, he wants to see how they are trying, saying that if they're wrong, he wants them to be wrong at full speed.

For the experienced veterans, he wants to see improvement steadily.

"With the older guys it goes pretty quick," Mullen said. "They kind of know it so you're looking for them to take the next step in how they're utilizing it and how they're managing it and how they're applying their fundamentals out there on the field, not just with the scheme. Are we better fundamentally within the scheme? With the older guys, that's what we're looking for."

After only one practice yesterday, MSU returns to two-a-day practices today. That worked out well for the Bulldogs after having things changed up by the weather in the morning outing.

Mullen adjusted quickly and said his team will be right on schedule.

"Originally we were planning on going outside the whole time and then the storm swirled on top of us and stayed," Mullen said. "We kind of had to rush and grab the practice schedules this morning and afternoon. Anything we needed to be outside, I wanted to make sure we were outside for, I just bump back to the afternoon and maybe moved one thing up that we can get done inside to kind of balance the practice times off."

As he said, one of the things he wanted to do this morning but didn't was work with the kickers, after Derek DePasquale and Brian Egan had a 1-for-8 showing in the second day on The Farm.

"The misses? I don't get panicked for that," Mullen said. "They might do a little extra running. I don't get in a panic just because it's something we can coach up, we watched it on film. We get a great film of it and tweak one little correction or something with [Derek's] balance. He was really off-balanced and I think we got that fixed. When you have a guy who has kicked in games like that, they have a bad day and they see they're off-balanced, it's a real quick tweak and change. It's not a freshman who is kind of wide-eyed and, 'what's wrong?' He knows he can get the job done."

While he'll wait until this afternoon to get full-field kicking work in, his kickers did do some extra point kicks this morning.

"We did PAT field goals a lot today," Mullen said. "We were good. I think we missed one today in the whole practice. It was better, improved and just getting back into the rhythm for those guys and the rhythm of the season. I don't get in a panic about Derek DePasquale. He'll be OK and ready to play."



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