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Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Mullen likes Bulldogs' mix at receiver

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

From the time Dan Mullen took the Mississippi State head coaching job prior to the 2009 season, he’s been talking about the importance of beefing up the receiving corps and finding more playmakers on the perimeter.

As the Bulldogs exit spring practice and look ahead to the 2012 season, Mullen thinks this may be the best shape they’ve been in across the board when it comes to pass-catchers.

And that includes tight ends.

Malcolm Johnson and Brandon Hill both had big springs and showed that they can be a big part of the offense. Both players are versatile enough to move around, too, and you might see them lining up some this fall in the backfield as H-backs.

At the receiver position, Mullen likes the Bulldogs’ experience with seniors Chad Bumphis, Chris Smith and Arceto Clark. But there’s also some explosiveness there with redshirt freshman Joe Morrow and sophomore Jameon Lewis.

"One of the things we’re starting to see is some of our younger guys are really the more explosive potential playmakers and our older guys are the steady guys," Mullen said Tuesday. "We're getting some depth. We have some experience and are starting to infuse some young talent in there that gives you some big-play ability.

"We need that position to be very strong because it’s probably our most experienced position on the field with the older guys, and they can set a great example. Consistent play will allow the younger guys to develop beyond playmakers to every-down players. That’s going to be a huge deal for us going into this season.

"If we’re going to have a great year, we’re going to have to have our receivers, especially our senior receivers, play great."

With Tyler Russell stepping in at quarterback, the Bulldogs threw it around a bunch this spring. Russell's strength is standing in the pocket and throwing the football, and it looks like he might have the best collection of receivers the Bulldogs have had since Mullen arrived in 2009.