Dr. Football’s Mailbag, Missouri Week


Thanks for all of the great questions this week. Keep them coming.

I’ve always thought the reason we didn’t win the ’09 National Title was that Dan Mullen left. He’s put in a lot of work and it looks like Mississippi State is over the hump.  At the end of this year, even if he only has one great year at Mississippi State, do you think his work at Florida and MS gives him enough credibility to make him the frontrunner for the Florida job, assuming we make a change?– Ozzie.

Ozzie: I’m not going to assume there is going to be a change. Let the season play out. But if there is, I think Mullen would be in the mix. But remember this — before this season, everyone thought he was a guy with a low ceiling. He could get you to a bowl game but couldn’t beat the really good teams. This year he has a senior-laden team and an exceptional quarterback. It’s kind of a perfect storm right now in Starkville.

Mike Slive announced his retirement in 2015, in part because of health reasons. I hope he beats cancer (again). Can you think of any commissioner so successful and respected as Mike in college or professional leagues? Thanks, Nick Gamblin.

Nick: Certainly, there have been some great commissioners. I think Roger Goodell was considered to be a great commissioner until this year when he has made several mistakes. Pete Rozelle was highly respected as was David Stern in the NBA. But Slive has been one of the best ever. I have a special affection for Slive because he has been the classiest commissioner I have ever known and he has been especially respectful and accommodating to the press. On Jan. 1, he allowed me to travel with him to three bowl games in one day. It’s something I will never forget.

Why does it seem that this coaching staff (really WM) always get so stubborn and does the same thing over and over regardless of the situation. Example – I love the inclusion of Andre Debose and Brandon Powell in the game-plan. But where was Kelvin Taylor at the goal line smashing it in?  We had probably 5 or 6 swing passes to Powell. I like his inclusion but it seems like we keep running the same thing over and over. Do we only have 5 plays to pick from per game? — JS.

 Early in the game, Taylor whiffed on a blitz pickup and he had a hard time seeing the field after that. But I don’t get why you would have Powell as your tailback on first-and-goal from the 2. It does seem that the game plans don’t have a lot of options, but a lot of staffs do that. They can only practice so many plays during the week. That said, I don’t understand why Debose only had one offensive touch in the game and Florida never seems to throw deep balls to him when he is the fastest guy on the team. But there are a lot of things I don’t understand about this offense.

Over the past two years I don’t recall a defense giving up so many 3rd and 8+ yard conversions.  I would rather a team have a 3rd and 3 against us v. a 3rd down an 10.  I don’t understand the fly out into a soft zone defense and let a receiver settle into an open spot 12 yards down the MIDDLE of the field (which I know can be vulnerable in a zone look) and make the first down catch.  Hence, the question: Why not play the same defense on 3rd and long that you did the first two plays to get them into the 3rd and long situation to begin with????? — Gary Garmin.

 I don’t know. Seriously, why would you let a receiver run free on third-and-25? Muschamp said there was a check and one player didn’t get it. Why wouldn’t you drop three safeties deep and make sure that doesn’t happen? I’ve seen it before where coaches get too soft on third-and-longs. I remember the FSU game in 2003 when the Seminoles had a fourth-and-forever and Florida’s defense allowed a long completion on a simple square-in to set up the winning score.