What a whirlwind of a week it has been from Thanksgiving night to the following Thursday. During this time, Mississippi State watched its starting QB’s ankle dislocated on national television, lost the Egg Bowl, Dan Mullen left for Florida, Dan Mullen took many MSU coaches with him, Dan and said coaches recruited MSU commits and targets, an MSU coaching search was started by John Cohen, rumors of names from all over country flooded to MSU, a coach was hired, and new MSU coach Joe Moorhead was introduced at a press conference in Starkville 11/30/17. Less interesting stuff happened to me between the ages of 10-14 compared to this one week for MSU fans.
I wanted to write something as all of this was going on but as a wise coach once said, “I wanted to measure twice and cut once.”
So, here we are. Our worst nightmare for the last 9 years finally came true, Dan Mullen left us. It was a bitter pill to swallow, especially with the Egg Bowl loss so fresh, but after 9 years of tortuous rumor mills ever offseason, I kinda was ready for this. I wrote a blog earlier stating that Florida was the one job that most concerned me and what do you know? I was actually right.
Talk about your all time backfires. Regardless, Dan leaving made a lot of MSU fans very upset as they clearly did not understand why he would want to abandon all he had set up here at MSU for Florida. I am here to say to those who felt this way….who cares? It is a lost cause to try and make sense of a man’s decision to strive for what he wants and provide for his family. Dan was always an interesting bird, and honestly, he was a bit of a jerk which we loved when he was “our jerk”, but now that he is gone we are seeing him for who he truly is? Come on guys.
Dan was ready for the next challenge in his career. I truly believe his mind was made up after that Alabama loss. Once he knew that he had fallen short once again to Saban in Starkville, he was mentally ready to move on. I think this can be seen clearly in the product we received the falling week in what might have been the flattest game we played all year against an Arkansas team, that we should have hung 45 on in Fayetteville. Fast forward to the Egg Bowl and Nick Fitzgerald going Willis McGahee on us, Dan was just over it. It is sad to hear but just reality.
Now, for those who are mad that he is going after our recruits with our former coaches he took; I can see how this might make you upset. It’s a little dirty but as we have seen with our buddies up north in Rebel land, dirty recruiting happens. What Dan is doing recruiting these players carried a lot more weight in a bigger picture when I saw it if you ask me though. It reeked of desperation.
Dan is the new coach at Florida who fired their previous Head Coach mid-season who took them to the SEC Championship game last year. They have been blown out by every significant rival this year (except TN which is a completely other dumpster fire) and seem to be far behind their biggest rival UGA right now. Dan is not expected to take his sweet time to build up a roster, slowly win over the fan base, and maybe challenge for an SEC East crown in a couple years. It’s now for Dan.
UGA just ran away with the East, has a stud Freshman QB, and more talent coming in the next recruiting class. Dan coming after our recruits is his way of trying to put a quick band aid over a wound, knowing he doesn’t have time for surgery. His style of offense is very different from that of Jim McElwain’spro-style offense and will require a lot of time and honestly different style players.
Dan does not have time to go off building recruiting ties for the next couple years that might not pan out. He needs some players to run his system now. Who better than the guys he recruited at MSU? Its lazy, slightly dirty, and overall desperate. This will all play out over the years and State fans need not worry. After this year, Dan will have bigger fish to fry then attempting to poach our recruits.
Speaking of this coming year though, I do hope that most State fans respect Dan and what he did for our program enough to applaud him when he comes back to State in September of 2018. He took the blank canvas that Sly Croom prepared for him (which we all should also appreciate) and crafted a wonderful vision that is still playing out to this day. Plus we need to applaud him that day because he will likely be losing that game. Why not remind him of what he is missing and send him out with one last victory for the Dawgs on Scott Field. I am sure he will appreciate it.
All of this is to say, Dan Mullen is not Mississippi State Football. He is a part of the history of the program and is directly related to the success, but he can’t take that with him to Gainesville. We have proven over the last few years that we are united as one. From the cowbells to the junction to the gametime atmosphere, our fans, facilities, administration, and players have created the ever-evolving artistry that is the Mississippi State Football program.
We know that while we are not as large as some, together we are strong. Consider us the Sparta of the SEC combating Persian invasions wave after wave. Okay, yes they eventually died, but I think you get the picture I am attempting to paint here. Be proud and happy we had Dan for the time we did, but know that our program moves on in a positive, MOOR plentiful direction.
You will see many articles and blogs about our new coach Joe Moorhead and his staff as they begin to be hired over the coming weeks. FWTCT is your best place for these articles and I look forward to writing many myself about the man responsible for taking an offense ranked 100th in the country to top 5 in less than 2 years. He is a self-proclaimed blue collar coach who should fit perfectly with the blue bloods of MSU who understand working for what you deserve. For me personally, I am very excited about Joe and where he will lead this program. I looked no further than his first night as MSU head coach. He was working in the Cotton District of Starkville, MS, meeting his people, and serving cheese fries. God Bless you Joe Moorhead and his family, welcome to Mississippi State, and Hail State.