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For Whom the Mailbag Tolls: Moving On Edition

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The Mailbag tolls for your questions.

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We’ve talked at length about the disaster that occurred at Davis Wade Stadium this past Saturday. It turns out, we have to talk about it a little more in today’s mailbag post.

I’ll be honest, I still can’t wrap my mind around that loss. But you guys have questions about the Mississippi St. Bulldogs, so I’ll do my best to answer them.

On to the questions!

These questions are basically the same, so I’ll answer them together. But to answer them, I think we are going to have to wait until next week.

I don’t believe we saw anything close to what the actual Peter Sirmon defense will look like against USA. He wanted to use a very vanilla scheme so South Carolina wouldn’t have a lot to gameplan on. But at some point, our talent should have overwhelmed their receivers and shut them down.

I was more concerned with the CBs in this game than I was the safeties, but the safeties seemed to struggle more than any of our corners. Brandon Bryant is going to have to play like we expected him to if we want to have any chance of shutting the opposition down.

I think part of what will help there is getting Jamal Peters on the field. I don’t remember seeing him on the filed at all. He has too much talent to be riding the bench when bad teams are lighting up your secondary.

I don’t think he has. One thing to keep in perspective is almost every program has a loss you can’t explain every now and then. You might say Alabama doesn’t, but I’d argue any loss for Alabama is a headscratching loss.

It’s almost impossible to figure out the reasoning behind this loss, but I don’t think it’s complacency. I think Mullen expected to win because he has won every single game like this one leading up to it. He might have gotten complacent for this particular game, but I don’t think he has overall. He wants to win, but it just might not be as obvious to fans as it once was.

A lot of the pessimism you’re seeing is happening for threereasons. I think it could quickly change, but for now, I think the pessimism is warranted.

The first reason is simply because we saw something we have yet to see under Dan Mullen. Mullen hadn’t lost a game like this his entire time he has been the head coach of the Bulldogs. We don’t know what to make of something we have never seen before.

The second reason is we only have result to base this on. If we had three or four games that preceded this one, the reaction might not be so severe.

Third, and probably the most significant reason, when you have a history like Mississippi State’s, any time you do something that might be the slightest hint of going back to being the doormat, people are going to freak out. We spent the last six years clawing our way out of the cellar of the SEC, the thought of going back there scares people. So I think that’s why.

Big plays mean going with Fitz or Tiano, and finding someone who can pound the ball at running back. Damian Williams did nothing to lose the game for us on Saturday, but in the second half of the game, USA decided they were going to make Williams beat them down the field. He’s not capable of doing that on a consistent basis, so expect more teams to make him challenge them down the field.

If we keep trying to make Holloway a feature back instead of a complimentary piece, we’ll keep seeing the same non-production from the running game. Holloway can be an effective player, but it won’t be in a role as the primary back. Bigger plays on offense will require personnel changes.

As for creating more turnovers on defense, the most important thing is to get more aggressive. Getting in the backfield and putting pressure on the quarterback will lead to poor decisions. Poor decisions will lead to turnovers.

For now, I’m saying yes. But this week’s game is so critical in keeping any bowl chances alive. If we win, I still think we can get there. If we lose, go ahead and plan a Christmas vacation.

Probably to make up for all of the Ole Miss cheatin’ off the field. They gotta level the playing field in some way.

That’s actually five questions Rob. But to answer it, I still don’t really know. There’s a lot that had to go wrong to South Alabama did, and it came to fruition.

Yes, we should. There are a lot of people calling for him to be fired, and people need to get that out of their head right now. He isn’t getting fired.

But we shouldn’t expect him to leave either. He made a lot of staff changes that seem to suggest he is trying to improve recruiting which would indicate he wants to be here for a while.

Mullen might want to leave Mississippi State eventually, but if he does, he’ll want to go somewhere that is more of a blue blood program. And the only way he gets a job like that is to take the Bulldogs closer to the top of the SEC pecking order.

Yes please. Soft or hard matters not to me. I’ll take them however I can get them. Stuff them with beef, chicken, shrimp or whatever, I’m all on board.

That’ll do it for this week’s edition of For Whom the Mailbag Tolls. If you ever want to get a question in, hit me up on Twitter. My handle is @JStrawnFWtCT.