Coaching Candidate: Dan Mullen ~ Miss St Fans Wanted Him Fired Last Year But Our Target?

Submitted by alum96 on September 30th, 2014 at 12:30 AM

Preface

I've been looking at quite a few candidates for 2015 HC the past few weeks as it had become increasingly clear the Hoke is not the answer; something I think the masses have finally agreed upon after Saturday.   I will post a few profiles this week in diaries on what I have found on candidates outside the normal cabal regurgitated over and over.   Some candidates I have done a ton of work on - some I have done less on.  All are current head coaches as I don't believe we can take a chance on someone who does not have HC experience at the NCAA level unless their name is John Harbaugh.

Normal caveats apply:

  • I am not an AD nor do I have a full time staff to focus on one of of the most important decisions over the next decade.   These are superficial reports based on raw data.  If  I were an AD I'd be doing a lot of on the ground work on each of these people's backgrounds starting from their playing days on forward  to every coaching stop. 
  • Past results do not guarantee a damn thing.  But that is all we can go on.
  • These are not necessarily my top candidates (read: Jim Harbaugh) but people we could get and are interesting and not "Sumlin, Shaw, Gundy redux"
  • I believe an elite level coach gets results within 2-3 years, by results I don't mean 11-2 but improving a bad program or maintaining a good program
  • W/L record is not the be all and end all - what Gary Barnett did for Northwestern is more impressive than what a lot of coaches have done at USC or Bama or Texas over the years.  Spurrier went and won at Duke for example early in his career.  Or just see John Beilein.
  • Adjust everything for conference, level of competition, and ability to get recruits
  • I don't care about systems - a good coach will coach up players.  It's about the Jimmy and Joes not the X's and O's.

 

Next candidate.... Dan Mullen, age: 42

Summary:  Dan Mullen is the head football coach of Mississippi State.   He has been for 5+ years now.  Dan Mullen has a wholly unremarkable record at Miss State.  He also is in a no win situation in the toughest division in college football.  Dan Mullen has somehow gone from a coach large portions of his fan base wanted gone after 2013's 4-6 start to a man Michigan fans are clamoring for and afraid of losing to Florida if/when they extinguish their current coach.  I can only imagine the confusion in Starkville.

I have no idea what Dan Mullen is.  I see a team that beats up 3-4 baby seals every year.  I see a team that finishes either 4th or 5th every year in its division; one that was only 6 teams deep until Texas A&M joined the SEC.   I see a team that beats up on the bottom tier SEC teams - the ones that finish in 6th in the West and 6th/7th in the East division, to get to their annual 7 or 8 wins.  They then proceed to get blased out of the water most of the time when facing the top tier SEC teams.  There is no shame in that.  But there is no great coaching greatness in that either.   In fact, if Mullen's counterpart in Mississippi was not so dirty (allegedly!) I'd consider Hugh Freeze to be a way more interesting candidate. 

Dan Mullen may be the greatest coach on Earth or average or ho hum.  It is almost impossible to figure it out in his situation.  But since he is so well received in our community I thought I'd do a write up for him.

 

Recent (10 years) coaching background

  • 2005-2008:  OC/QB at Florida
  • 2009-2014:  HC at Miss ST

Analysis:  Well he doesn't hop around.  Before 2005 he was with Urban Meyer at Utah as a QB coach.  He then came with Urban to Florida after Zook was kicked to the curb.  This was the era of Mullen as OC and Charlie Strong/Mattison as co-DC.   He was hired at Miss St and took over in 2009.  Pretty simple.

Many claim Mullen has "Midwest roots" so UM should be all over him, but where you are born has little to do with where your connections are. Mullen has been in the south for nearly a decade.  His only Midwest jobs outside of a graduate assistant were 2 years at Bowling Green with ... well Urban Meyer.  So if 2 years at Bowling Green 12 years ago and being born in Pennsylvania is your idea of a guy who is going to come into Ohio and Illinois and PA and kick behind on recruiting, then Mullen is your man.

 

Results

Caveat for results ----> (a) nothing exists in a vacuum (b) as a coordinator you can benefit or be penalized if your HC is good or bad or average (c) injuries or graduation can change your results dramatically in any 1 year.  This is the type of stuff you'd research as an AD staff on every potential candidate.

I will break down his results at 2 time frames - OC at Florida, HC at Miss St.

http://sportschump.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/tim-tebow-dan-mullen.jpg

(1) OC at Florida

It is always tough with a VERY successful head coach to determine how much impact the coordinators are having.  Alex Smith was at Utah and did very well - was that due to Meyer or Mullen?  Chris Leak and Tebow were at UF - was that due to Meyer and Mullen?  I can't tell you how many coaches Brett Favre made rich when they said "I developed Brett Favre!" I always go in favor of the HC in these cases especially if said HC has had success with multiple coordinators.  But below you see the last year of Zook (2004) and then Mullen's 4 years with first Chris Leak and then Tim Tebow.

  W/L Tot Off Tot Def
2004   22  
2005   61  
2006   19  
2007   14  
2008   15  

Zook actually had a pretty darn good offense down there at Florida but obviously Urban's spread was a different animal and there were struggles during one transition year.  But then they got back to a top 20 type offense the last 3 years of Mullen's reign with 2 decorated QBs.

This was enough for Miss St to come calling with an offer

(2) HC at Miss State

Miss St is in the SEC West, at the time a 6 team division where Arkansas is up and down, Ole Miss is mediocre, Miss State is mediocre, LSU is generally good to great (once Saban arrived), and Auburn and Alabama (along with LSU) took turns being champions - at least over the last 20 years.  Then A&M was added a few years back. 

Mullen came in for Sylvestor Croom who actually did some good things with Miss State but fell badly in his last season and exited stage right.  Here is Mullen's record and offensive and defensive rankings versus Croom's last year.

  W/L Tot Off Tot Def
2008 4-8 113 35
2009 5-7 65 58
2010 9-4 42 49
2011 7-6 84 35
2012 8-5 79 52
2013 7-6 42 18

Croom had a horrible offense his last year at Miss St, which Mullen came in and imroved to average/meh level.  From there, we see mixed results.  Despite his "offensive guru" status Miss State's offense had 2 quite bad years down in the 80 range.  And topped out in the 40s. 

Defensively, Croom left a good defense.  Mullen has basically continued that - please adjust for some very good SEC offenses which makes the results a bit better than just the raw data.

My concern here is most elite coaches will be very good on one side of the ball or the other.  See MSU which focuses on defense, see Oregon which focuses on offense.  Miss State is not "top end" on either - its decent to average on both offense and defense.

In terms of recruiting Miss State recruits on average rank 33 over the past 5 years.  That is similar to say Michigan State/Wisconsin level.   Ole Miss has beaten them soundly on the recruiting trail the past 3-4 years almost always finishing 10-20 spots better.  Again with Hugh Freeze caveats.

Analysis of wins and losses

I am adding this section specifically for Mullen because of his propensity to beat baby seals and bad SEC teams and lose to good SEC teams.  So basically Miss State "does what it is supposed to do".  Compare that to say Harbaugh who had a doormat in Stanford but by year 3 of his era, despite a 8-5 record, rose up to kick the teeth in of some very good teams (I see you USC).  I'd be more excited about Mullen if he did that - even if his record was 8-5 or 9-4 one of those wins every year was a beatdown of a top 3 SEC team.  That doesn't happen.  Usually when he beats a "brand name" team it is in a down year for said team.

Everyone is excited about this win vs LSU last week but LSU lost EVERY skill position player to the NFL draft last year on offense.  In the first half v Wisconsin the LSU offense was a complete joke - and until Wisconsin began losing its DL, LSU was comatose.  Let's see how the season turns out but I have a feeling this is more like a 8-5 LSU team then a 11-2 LSU team.

List of wins year by year

  • 2009:  Jackson State, (2-10) Vanderbilt, Middle Tenn State, (7-6) Kentucky, (9-4) #20 Miss State.  
  • 2010:  Memphis, (6-7) Georgia, Alcorn State, Houston, (8-5) Florida, UAB, Kentucky, (4-8) Ole Miss, Michigan
  • 2011:   Memphis, LA Tech, UAB, Kentucky, Tennessee-Martin, (2-10) Ole Miss
  • 2012:  Jackson State (3-9) Auburn, Troy, South Alabama, Kentucky, (5-7) Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, (4-8) Arkansas
  • 2013:  Alcorn State, Troy, Bowling Green, Kentucky, (3-9) Arkansas, (8-5) Ole Miss, (10-4) Rice

List of losses year by year

  • 2009:  Auburn, LSU, Georgia Tech, Houston, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas
  • 2010:  Auburn, LSU, Alabama, Arkansas
  • 2011:   Auburn, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas
  • 2012:  Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU, Ole Miss, Northwestern
  • 2013:  Oklahoma State, Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Alabama

 

So let's review the data since it is important.  In 5 years his most impressive wins were (year 1) 9-4 Ole Miss (year 2) 8-5 Florida which was 4-4 in the SEC, and (year 5) 8-5 Ole Miss and 10-4 Rice.  Those are his 4 major wins in 5 years.  Add this year's LSU if you'd like - we have no idea what that LSU is  yet.

10.5 months ago many in the Miss St fan base wanted him out - he was 4-6 with his 4 wins: Alcorn State, Bowling Green, Troy, and 2-10 Kentucky.

Again I don't expect Miss State to beat Alabam more than once every 5 years but ... do it once.  Beat an Auburn team in any year it is not 3-9.   He is now 1-5 vs LSU.  Even some average Houston Nutt Arkansas teams seemed to give him trouble.

This is a guy we are going to get to beat OSU and MSU?  And eventually take us to the playoffs to beat - err Alabama, Auburn, A&M, LSU?

 

Overall

For all I know in 10 years we will look back and see Dan Mullen is the next Nick Saban.  But right now I don't see a shred of evidence to support that.  He has 2 wins over a good not great Ole Miss, an average Florida, and Rice as his trademark wins in 5 years.  He does recruit in a hotbed area of the country and certainly he does not get the pick of the litter but his buddy at Ole Miss is recruiting circles around him.  (fairly or otherwise) 

He is young, makes $3.2M annually and apparently has "Midwest roots", so somehow has a "Big 10 footprint" associated with him for those 2 years at Bowling Green.

If this is a man both Florida and Michigan are going to be fighting hand and tooth over... a coach many Miss State fans wanted out of the program 11 months ago....I guess I just have a very weird way to analyze elite level success.  I don't see it here.

 

Comments

maizenblue92

September 30th, 2014 at 12:40 AM ^

I've been selling Dan Mullen like I'm his goddamn agent and I stand by that. Winning at Miss St is hard, like really really hard. He is the first coach to take them to 4 straight bowls (soon to be 5), he wins 60% of his games at a place that historically wins only 48%. At MSU you fight with a foot in a bucket compared to the rest of the SEC, they have bad facilities, have one of the last picks in recruiting, and are second in a state that is not deep for talent. This is breakout season because it is his first year with a good, veteran quaterback. 

alum96

September 30th, 2014 at 12:53 AM ^

Well if he is going to have a breakout season this is the year to have it, with the eyes of Michigan and Florida watching. 

Feels like election night.

They host a vulnerable Texas A&M next week (they struggled with Big Bert and Arkansas), then Auburn the week after.   Some baby seals thrown in and then a "we are not sure yet what they are" Arkansas...then Bama and Ole Miss late in the year. 

He has got to beat someone not named Arkansas from that list to show this is a breakout season.

lewan_long

September 30th, 2014 at 1:31 AM ^

great analysis.
When I look at adapting offensive styles and recruiting, I thought Hugh Freeze is a better candidate than Dan Mullen though.
Of course, Ole Miss will probably lose this weekend against alabama, but his record in the SEC has been good so far. 

alum96

September 30th, 2014 at 2:03 AM ^

If Hugh Freeze is "clean" he is way more interesting of a candidate.  Massively outrecruiting Mullen with some serious high end talent, and in a much shorter period of time seems to have the team on an upward trend.  But from my understanding from 2K miles away some question how he is getting these results.  Maybe it is sour grapes, maybe it is legit - I have no idea. 

Hannibal.

September 30th, 2014 at 2:40 PM ^

I'm still a huge outlier in this department, but if a guy cheats that is a resume enhancer for me.  Especially since cheating means violating arbitrary rules about amateurism that don't benefit the athletes.  In college football, cheaters prosper.  It looks like Hugh Freeze can coach as well as recruit.  His track record isn't very long, so there's that, but he would be a "swing for the fences" type hire. 

Mpfnfu Ford

September 30th, 2014 at 3:34 AM ^

Makes me laugh. Before Mullen they were losing to the UABs and Southern Misses of the world. It took Jackie Sherill cheatin' like hell just to get them a notch below where Dan Mullen has gotten them. It's a ten cent job with a 100 dollar coach and they're griping that he can't beat Bama. 

Mississippi State has NOTHING going for it as a program. It's the clear number 2 in a state that can't keep it's best talent in state, and for a lot of it's history it's been number 3 in the state behind Southern Miss. He's a very. very good coach. Is he the slamminest dunk hire ever? No, but who is in this current environment? He's the closest to a sure thing in the avalable college football coaching world.

Logan88

September 30th, 2014 at 7:13 AM ^

I don't believe anyone feels Mullen should be UM's first (or even second) option but he seems to be a solid option.

It seems a little unfair of you to only turn the microscope of "Which teams did this coach beat?" on Mullen yet ignore it for the other coaches you have examined. I suspect you would find a lot of baby seal wins for those coaches as well.

Also, you need to remember that Mississippi State is historically the WORST team in the SEC. Yes, they have a lower all-time winning percentage than either Kentucky or Vanderbilt. Winning 7 games a season at MSU (NTMSU) is a significant accomplishment regardless of who those wins come against. It would be like pooh-poohing the fact that a 14 year old was only beating 17 year old boxers and not Mike Tyson/Muhammad Ali.

The fact that MSU (NTMSU) fans wanted to get rid of him only proves that people 1) have short memories and 2) are stupid.

alum96

September 30th, 2014 at 8:55 AM ^

I think I listed major wins for every coach thus far.

In 2011 he beat 1 team with a winning record, LA Tech... the other 6 wins came against losing teams and quite a few were baby seals.  With recruiting classes akin to Wisconsin or MSU.

In 2012 he beat 2 teams with a winning record, Jackson State and Middle Tennessee State.

So that is 2 years in a row he did not beat a Big 5 conference team over .500.

That was year 3 and 4 of his tenure.

Bodogblog

September 30th, 2014 at 10:16 AM ^

These are great, I don't know how you don't have more upvotes.

Will you do Pinkel?  I know he's old, but err'body's got something.  We don't need a guy for the next 20 years, we desperately need a developer and schemer who can coach the current roster.  8 years is plenty.  He's 62, looks much younger, he can go to 70.

He's from Ohio.  His record at Mizzou is 106-64, at Toledo 73-37.  He has four 10 win seasons in the last 7 years, went 12-2 with a Cotton Bowl win last year.  He's doing it with a lot of local Mo. kids and mediocre recruiting classes (#56, #34, #41, #31, #48 over last five years according to Rivals).  You might say "not a great recruiter", I'd say "Missouri".   Scheme change?  Probably.  But he has Maty Mauk chucking the ball all over the yard, and had him playing very well off the bench last year as RS freshman.   DUI's are a problem.

alum96

September 30th, 2014 at 10:34 AM ^

I dont think many people ready diaries ;)  I didnt read them for probably the first 18 months I was on the site. 

I am not going to do Pinkel due to age.  He is the same age as Miles I believe and I believe either at this point would be a stop gap measure for 4-5 years.  Which is probably all you'd get out of a Harbaugh (probably less) but I'm trying to focus on guys in their 40s to say 56-57 years old.  You should be able to get a decade out of those type of guys if he is a success.

Bodogblog

September 30th, 2014 at 12:09 PM ^

I believe it's much more important to get a proven winner, even for 6-8 years (if he comes, he's not bowing out after 4-5 years) than it is to meet a 10-year career criteria.  In other words, if we bring in an inferior coach that's willing to stay for 10 years, I'd see that as a critical failure ilo of brining in a superior coach for 6-8 years.  Wouldn't you?  Why wouldn't you want to have the best?  Besides look at Pinkel, he could take Mullen in a fistfight (which should definitely be part of your criteria). 

6-8 years is plenty of time to build a team reflective of the new coach, change the culture (expecting to outscheme and outprepare opponents rather than hoping our obvious flaws won't be exposed), put the RR/Hoke years in the rearview, and leave a legacy.  We need an IQ guy and staff, coaches who can develop a loaded (at least if recruiting rankings are accurate) roster, and win now.   I don't have all the answers on all these guys - which is why I love your series - but Pinkel seems closest right now.

alum96

September 30th, 2014 at 1:48 PM ^

I just checked his age, he is 62 with a birthday in April.  So he'd be 63 next fall.  Lloyd Carr is 69 and retired 7 years ago.  Not sure anyone but Miles due to his connection is going to want to come here at that advanced age and suffer thru at least 2 years of rebuild.  I think the Michigan fan base is a bit delusional about the level of talent we have, especially on offense (now I sound like Purple Stuff).  Entering 2015 we dont have a functional QB, we dont have 1 OL to hang our hat on, and we dont have one WR who will be of Funchess or Gallon level.  Green looks average.  That leaves Jake Butt and a lot of hope.  We also lose our 2 best playmakers on defense to graduation.

If Pinkel was at Missouri for 5 years or something I'd get it - he has been there a long time.  I doubt at his age throwing an extra $2M at him is going to get him to move from something very comfortable to what is currently a massive tire fire.

I do agree he could beat any other coach's behind!

And to your other question YES I'd take a great coach here for even 4 years.  Harbaugh left a great plate for Shaw and at least built a coaching tree.  There is no coaching tree here left.  People want Sumlin, but he may go to Dallas cowboys next year  - I am sure A&M fans wouldnt complain about the 3 yrs he put in.  I said I'd take Todd Graham for 4 years even if he left for the NFL.  If either Harbaugh showed up here there would be calls for them to go to the NFL each and every off season. etc.

Bodogblog

September 30th, 2014 at 2:53 PM ^

Lloyd Carr has nothing to do with this my friend: my grandfather worked until he was 80, does that mean Pinkel has 18 more years? 

You also make the mistake of believing this is a tire fire.  It's not.  Or it is, but it's not for the new guy coming in.  Michigan is one of the most attractive jobs in the country, doomgloomers be damned.  We know this: blueblood tradition (only 10 or so schools can say this), outstanding facilities, $US currency everywhere, rabid fan/alumni base, outstanding academics, great college town in Ann Arbor, and Hoke just proved over the last 3 years that you can recruit with anyone nationally.  And the kicker: beat an average non-conf opponent, OSU and MSU (or Iowa or Wiscy or whoever that five-year trend has bobbed up to OSU/UofM status) and you're in the Final Four.  There is no where easier to win a national title than Michigan or Ohio State, because the B1G is horrible. 

Pinkel's not winning one at Mizzou.  Yes Michigan is a long way away from the Final Four.  But a top coach looks at the above and thinks he can get it done fairly soon.  Think Beilein post catharsis.  Maybe 3-4 years.  Maybe he says "I've only got 6-8 years left, it's now or never."   And in the meantime he's putting good, intelligent and developed teams on the field.

But the most important question is whether he's the best guy.  I personally like him more than these other candidates, but what the hell do I know.  Is he the best guy over 6 years?  Yes?  Bring him in. 

alum96

September 30th, 2014 at 5:28 PM ^

Well it is kind of funny you say that because on the Todd Graham thread I was arguing UM is still a very attractive job and on this thread I am told I don't think UM is a very attractive job.

The tire fire reflects (a) current coach (b) current AD and (c) a lack of NFL players. 

I think the UM fanbase has overestimated our talent based on HS starz.  I dont see more than 10 NFL players on this team if that. The 97 team had 31 who sniffed the league.  MSU's team has 3-4 guys who will be going in the first or 2nd round alone this year. 

The 2015 coach inherits no sure player on the OL, no breakout player in the WR core (assuming Funchess goes to the draft where he is currently mocked late 1st/early 2nd), no RB who has proven he can run on teams with a heartbeat, and worse no established QB.  So he has Jake Butt as a "A" player and a lot of hype about guys like Canteen, Ty Isaac, Mason Cole etc.  The same hype given to Derrick Green, Darboh, Drake Harris etc.   It's a tire fire offense.

The defense is sufficient but loses its 2 star players - Clark and Jake Ryan.  I think the CBs should be good next year but we have had 1 great game for Lewis and Peppers cant stay healthy for a half.  Both still unproven.  And we dont have 1 single established DE for next year. 

Not to be a debbie downer but if this team had 20 NFL players on it, no matter how bad the coaching was, it would look better than the comatose team being rolled out every week versus non bottom 15 teams in the country.

BlueinOK

September 30th, 2014 at 10:38 AM ^

I like Mullen. Mississippi State is doing better with him than any other coach in recent memory. I don't remember MSU being good since like 1997 before him. I don't know why people complain about lack of Midwest ties. Hoke didn't recruit well before Michigan because he wasn't in a position to success like you can at Michigan. 

funkywolve

September 30th, 2014 at 11:51 AM ^

posts.

I'm with you though, I'm not sold on Mullen.  From 2009 to 2013 Miss St played 40 SEC games.  Only 4 times have they beaten an SEC team that ended the season with a winning overall record.  Only twice has he beaten a non-conference team from a Big 5 conference (7-6 Michigan and 6-7 Wake Forest).  Part of that is because, like you said, they just schedule baby seals in the non-conference slate.  Almost 15% of his wins at Miss St are against 1-AA teams (5 of his 36 wins from 2009-2013).

CompleteLunacy

September 30th, 2014 at 11:58 AM ^

I mean, prior to this season we were all lamenting the possibility that Hoke was a career mediocre  7-8 win coach. And nothing out of Mullen shows any different. The caveat that he's doing it at Mississippi State only gets so far, and comes nowhere close to explaining his futility against top 25 teams and SEC teams in general. Not every SEC team is Alabama. 

I'd  rather take a risk than get a  guy like Mullen, because he simply does not have a great track record. Sure, he got Mississippi State a bowl streak, but I think we need to aim higher than just a bowl streak. 

jblaze

September 30th, 2014 at 11:59 AM ^

We'll get Hoke Jr. (a guy that could be great or could be awful, who knows but we'll have another 3 year experiment) as there are no (to my knowledge) pure home run coaches available.

Honestly, it looks like Schiano is the best guy out there. He had issues in the locker room in Tampa, but they had no players and with Harbaugh, people think his locker room issues are fine.

Bodogblog

September 30th, 2014 at 12:17 PM ^

Schiano is the ultimate Hoke Jr., with a 68-67 overall college coaching record.  Rutgers caveats?  Sure, but Hoke had those at his stops as well.  He's had one 10-win season in his career, and went 4-8 in his second-to-last season at Rutgers - after he had been there 10 years.  He did a good job turning that team into something, but it's not overwhelming.  And the Tampa Bay stint should stomp out any remaining embers on this fire.

Pinkel is your guy - see above.

alum96

September 30th, 2014 at 2:06 PM ^

I would also like to add 2 questions to the Mullen supporters.  Again let me throw the caveat out there I have no idea if Mullen will be the next Nick Saban.  So far I see nothing to support it.

Question #1 -  Last year there were 3 high profile coaching jobs open:  Texas, PSU, USC.  Was Mullen a favorite for any of these?  I don't remember him being so.  He had 5 years at that point to prove his worth.  If he was not (which my recollection) why is he good enough for UM but not those schools?   PSU took someone else from his conference.  Texas took someone from the same coaching staff as Mullen with for a few years under Urban Meyer at Florida.  Why was Mullen not one of the hot names last year if he is so good?

Question #2 - you say Mullen can't win at Miss State because of this excuse, that excuse or another excuse.  Again I am not asking him to beat Alabama 2 out of 5 years, or Auburn 2 out of 5, or LSU 2 out of 5 when those guys are at the top of the game.  But he should show breakthroughs by year 4.  Why do I say that?  I will give 2 examples (I could find more). 

  • Jim Harbaugh took over a 1 win Stanford and by year 3 beat up USC  a team no different than Auburn, LSU, etc.  By year 4 he had them nationally relevant   Stanford is not a great football school - they had some big years in the 70s and then they will have 2-3 good years once every 12-13 years.  They are no big shot. 
  • Joe Tiller took a horrid Purdue program from bad coach Jim Coletto and won immediately.  He was an offensive 'innovator' and found QBs to win.  His first year was 9-3, his second year was 9-4, etc.  Mullen is supposed to be a QB guru - maybe it is Urban Meyer not Mullen after all who is the QB guru.  Joe Tiller found QBs at a crap program and found ways to win.  Where were Mullen's great QBs?  Todd Graham took a 2 star QB out of Idaho for ASU and he is now one of the top 3 QBs in the Pac 12.  Mullen cant find anybody in the south in 5 years?  I have not gone thru Tiller's years 1 by 1 but I bet he actually beat more than 2-3 decent teams in his first 5 years.  I realize Miss State is not Auburn or Georgia, but Purdue does not have a great tradition, great facilities, great this, great that.  Purdue is basically Mississippi State of the north.  Good coaches find a way. 

I have about 3 other guys I can use as examples but you get the  point.

Hannibal.

September 30th, 2014 at 2:23 PM ^

Mullen's resume is good, but I think that people are overexaggerating a tad about how hard it is to win there by making some flawed record comparisons.  Namely, comparing Mullen's tenure to the Sly Croom tenure and Jackie Sherrill's final few years, when he had basically checked out.  Sly Croom, in particular, was a terrible hire (I thought so the day that it was announce) and he sucked ass as a coach.  What Mullen is doing now is comparable to what Jackie Sherrill did during his good years there.  It's not bad, but it doesn't make him a plan "A" guy in my eyes.

The spread offense thing is a bit of an issue, not because I don't like it, but because we do need a guy who can win immediately with the athletes on the roster.  I want a guy who either already runs what Michigan runs or isn't beholden to a particular system.  Maybe Mullen can be that guy.  if so, that needs to be asked during the interview. 

sammylittle

September 30th, 2014 at 2:29 PM ^

I am an instructor at Mississippi State and have much contact with the athletic department and some with the Mullen family. A former head coach at this university is my neighbor, my son has playdates with an assistant coach's sons, I have done contract work with the athletic department, and count two assistant athletic directors and the son of a former athletic director among my friends. I know many big donors to this university. My faculty season tickets have been in the first row at the 50 yardline for the past four years. I feel like I have a handle on the situation in Starkville.

While some fans wanted Dan gone during the season last year, most did not. And the big money donors are solidly behind him. Since he has been here, Mississippi State has set attendance records, a bowl streak record, expanded the stadium, and built a $27 million dollar football palace and new practice field. Mullen gets what he asks for and is now competitive in the SEC West. He is in a fertile recruiting ground and is highly regarded here. Mullen has no reason to leave unless a very attractive situation became available.

He is in a very nice situation and I don't think he would leave to the face all of the problems in Ann Arbor. Becuase of his personal history, I could see Dan leaving here for two jobs; those being Florida and Penn State. My guess is he is keeping an eye toward Gainesville, but would be unlikely to return there unless the circumstances were just right.

Here are a couple of photos of me and my kids at the faculty day practice to support my assertions.

 

Hannibal.

September 30th, 2014 at 3:01 PM ^

1.  Because if Brandon is gone, it might not be toxic anymore.

2.  Because we can pay him a lot more

3.  Because Ann Arbor is a better place to live for lots of people than StarkVegas

4.  Because he will be playing in front of 110,000 people regularly

5.  Because we are the winningest program in history

6.  Because the ceiling at Mississippi State is much lower than the ceiling at Michigan.

7.  Because he gets to play in the cream puff Big Ten.

8. Because if you ask any man on the steet, he will tell you that Michigan is a massive promotion over Mississippi State.

I can buy that Mullen may not come to Ann Arbor because he is holding out for an equivalent job that he thinks is more attractive, but if he gets a serious offer that is a promotion, dollars to doughnuts says he's gone.

sammylittle

September 30th, 2014 at 4:07 PM ^

I don't disagree with you on the whole, but have some counterarguments. First to address your points:

1. This is a big if. Why leave a stable environment for that kind of uncertainty?

2. Here is a link to salaries: http://www.coacheshotseat.com/SalariesContracts.htm. Dan has half of the businesses in this state after him for endorsements. He is the only game in town many places. Plus he will earn a nice raise if his team goes 9-3 or better.

3. This is true for many, but Dan is a better fit here. He has a young son and the privacy afforded here is superior to that in AA. Also, Mullen is quite openly religious in a way that would not play as well in AA.

4. True, but I would argue the game day atmosphere in Starkville now is superior to the atmosphere in AA from 1978 to 2003 when I attended games there.

5. True! Hail!

6. Again True!

7. This is true, but not his style. He is hyper-competitive. Moreso than most coaches. Mullen wants to be known as the best ever and seeks hard challenges. Knowing him, he would rather turn a losing program into a winning program than take the easy route. Almost anyone can win at Michigan (the last 2 coaches excepted).

8. Again true.

The part of this is that Urbz was Mullen's mentor and he is loyal to him. I don't see him seeking open competition with Urbz. Mullen seems more interested in beating Saban than his friend/mentor. Also he has adopted many of Urbz sayings, like "the school up North." He would have to change his routine to face off with Urbz.

Mullen is a private guy who does not go out into public seeking the limelight. He is content to sit in his office and order food in. Starkville is a better place for his lifestyle than Ann Arbor.

PhilipVU94

September 30th, 2014 at 5:18 PM ^

Mullen is a fantastic coach. Miss State fans, like Ole Miss, So Carolina, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, indeed, like most fans, all think their school occupies a higher place in the pecking order than it does. Starkville is just a dystopian college town in the middle of the cow pastures, very hard to recruit to, and they split a low-population state with the more popular Ole Miss who actually plays in a town you might want to spend an afternoon in (and is closer to Memphis).

Around the SEC there are strong hints that Miss State cheats (as does most of the SEC), all unsubstantiated, so... make of that what you will.

My first allegiance is to an SEC school so I feel like I have a foot in both camps here.

alum96

September 30th, 2014 at 5:35 PM ^

Thanks to you guys from down in Mississippi contributing - always enjoy hearing the local flavor and perception.

If UF fires it's coach I will be very interested if they make Mullen their #1 candidate.  If not, it will say something IMO.