Thursday, June 14, 2012

Handbags at five paces: La Tech’s Dykes, MSU’s Mullen duke it out

image On Monday, Louisiana Tech football coach Sonny Dykes couldn’t contain his enthusiasm for the way his team played last year, and gushed about how his team stacked up against two Southeastern Conference squads during the course of the season.

"We have better players than people think," the coach said. "Last year we played Mississippi State, and I swear to you there was no difference in our players and theirs. I was shocked. There was no difference. They might've had a little more depth, but across the board our players were about as good as theirs. We played Ole Miss, and we kinda played 'em at a time that wasn't really good for them, and I think we beat 'em by about 24 points and had better players than they did. I was shocked. I would like to say we coached 'em better or we were real smart and pat ourselves on the back, but we had better players than they did."

Dykes’ team lost to Mississippi State 26-20 in overtime in a game that the Bulldogs were widely expected to romp. The close outcome gave rise to lots of speculation regarding whether coach Dan Mullen was making sufficient progress. Ole Miss was already a raging dumpster fire and lost to Dykes’ Bulldogs in a 27-7 laugher.

Mullen returned fire today in a telephone interview with the Clarion-Ledger:

“I guess if the players are equal we must have better coaches here at Mississippi State since we won,” Mullen said in jest. “But they are a very good football team. Sonny does a great job with their program.”

Unfortunately, Mississippi State and Louisiana Tech don’t meet again until 2015 and in this time of increasing coaching mobility, it’s a coin flip as to whether either or both are still at their posts when that date rolls around.

Helmet tap to Pete Roussell.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.