Mullen juggling two jobs

Published: Monday, January 5, 2009 at 11:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 5, 2009 at 11:54 p.m.

FORT LAUDERDALE — Dan Mullen appears to be doing a deft job of juggling two roles.

During the day, he’s the offensive coordinator at Florida. For a few hours each night, alone in his hotel room, he’s the new head coach at Mississippi State.

“It’s pretty tough,” he said Monday at the BCS Championship Media Day. “A lot of the adrenalin keeps you going.

“Obviously, playing in a big game like this gets you going here. Preparing to be a head coach for the first time is just an unbelievable feeling. I’m really excited about that. That keeps me going on that end.”

When Mullen was offered and accepted the MSU job after the SEC title game, there was some debate whether he would return for the national title game against Oklahoma. But Mullen said there was never really any doubt.

“I heard they (MSU) might want to talk to me after the SEC Championship Game,” Mullen said. “It all ended up going pretty fast from there. There’s no good transition time for anybody. We’ve tried to make it work as best as we can and it’s going really well.

“Urban (Meyer) and I talked right away. Our plan right from the beginning was I’d try to work it out (so I could coach in the game). We just had to work out the details.”

As for handling his situation, Mullen said the best advice he’s received is from Bo Pelini, who was in the same position a year ago. After becoming the head coach at Nebraska after the SEC title game, Pelini remained at LSU through the national championship game as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator. It worked out well for Pelini and LSU, which defeated Ohio State.

“Bo Pelini was great,” Mullen said. “I think he was the best one in dealing with this specific situation.

“He said to set aside time wherever you’re at. When you’re at Mississippi State, make sure you set aside time at night to watch film of Oklahoma to help prepare for the game. When you’re at Florida, set aside time at night to deal with your responsibilities at Mississippi State. One last thing he said was, ‘You’re playing for a national championship, so remember to enjoy that along the way.’”

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