Each time I compare Dan Mullen to Lane Kiffin I get a slew of angry emails from Mississippi State fans. Trouble is, Dan Mullen is comparable to Lane Kiffin.
He’s young. He’s cocky. He’s mouthy. And he likes to throw a barb at the competition whenever he can.
If your coach does that, you love him and there’s nothing wrong with it. If your rivals’ coach does that, you hate him and he’s just being classless. And if you’re an objective outsider you say, “Hey, that guy acts like Lane Kiffin.”
Yesterday, an animated Houston Nutt began his post-signing day press conference by excitedly mentioning the fact that Ole Miss had signed the top five players in the state of Mississippi and eight of the top 12. He took no shots at Mississippi State — from the clips I watched — and simply stated facts, just as any coach would have.
But it appears Mullen made the mistake of reacting to a reporter’s version of the events. Again. Last summer, a reporter at SEC Media Days baited MSU’s coach into taking a shot at Nick Saban when, in fact, Saban had said nothing that should have riled up Mullen in the first place.
This time around, someone apparently told the coach that Nutt “bragged about the amount of in-state talent he bagged.” Mullen replied as follows:
“That’s good. I thought we did pretty well, too. I guess we’ll find out next Thanksgiving, just like the last two Thanksgivings.”
Well, that’s just nasty. It’s Kiffinesque. And while MSU fans will no doubt rally ’round their coach’s defiant tone — Hell, yeah! — it’s that kind of talk that makes what a Miami trustee said about Mullen in December seem so utterly believable. The Miami Herald at the time reported that a UM trustee revealed that Mullen had turned off the search committee with his “big ego” saying that “he acts like he invented the game.”
And I’m sure Mullen’s gums wouldn’t have been poppin’ had he signed the top five players in Mississippi and eight of the top 12.