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USC Trojans Coaching Search 2015: Examining the potential Candidates: Dan Mullen head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs

We take a look at a potential USC head coaching candidate and why he would and would not be a good fit for the program. This time: Dan Mullen head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs

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Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The context:

"If this opening had come up last year when Mississippi State was rising to No. 1, Mullen would be on everyone's list. Think about that: For several weeks last season, Mississippi State was No. 1 in the country for goodness sakes. Mullen isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the fact that a blunt Yankee has thrived in the deep South shows he's smart and adaptable. Mullen has lots of energy, is excellent at evaluating talent and is on the cusp of leading the Bulldogs to a sixth consecutive bowl game. That's unprecedented at a historically tough place to win."

-Dan Wolken, USA Today.

Dan Mullen
Age: 43
Record at Current Position: 52-33 at Mississippi State
Overall Record: 52-33

Why he would be a good fit:

Dan Mullen is an unbelievable coach and he has had success everywhere he has been. After being a graduate assistant at Notre Dame, Mullen moved to Bowling Green as the quarterbacks coach when Urban Meyer was hired. He then moved with Meyer from BGSU to Utah to Florida, being the offensive coordinator at the final two stops. He was the playcaller for Alex Smith when Utah went 12-0 and won the Fiesta Bowl as a non-BCS conference team. Smith was the #1 overall draft pick following that season due in large part to the scheme Mullen facilitated.

At Florida, he won two national titles and coached some guy named Tim Tebow for three seasons. Under Mullen's playcalling Tebow became a NCAA football legend en route to the Heisman Trophy.

Since taking over Mississippi State, Mullen has continued to do nothing but win. In the vaunted SEC West he has had a winning record 6 of 7 years (the only losing record was in his first season). That is quite impressive given he is running MSU and competing with the likes of Alabama, LSU, Auburn, and Texas A&M. Mullen cannot get the players of the aforementioned programs, but he has made it work. His current quarterback, Dak Prescott, has been considered one of the best players in the nation. His Bulldogs ranked #1 in the country a year ago today.

Why he would be a bad fit:

There isn't much to dislike about Mullen. He is a proven performer who coaches a spread-option style offense that is tailor made for today's football rules. He is young, personable, and would enter with a built in resume to buy him leeway with the fan base.

The biggest argument against Mullen right now may be the simple fact that he is not Clay Helton. The team seems to want Helton to be the head coach so anyone new coming in to replace Clay Helton may struggle despite his consistent success.

The second biggest gripe with Mullen would be that he has never been the head coach at a program the level of USC. He is comfortable at Mississippi State. The fans love him and he could walk on water down there (an advantage who would not have at USC). We have seen a few recent examples (Bret Bielema comes to mind) where a coach leaves a comfortable position for something greater, only to see them try to outsmart themselves and lose what made them great coaches to begin with. This is purely hypothetical, but beyond that all signs point to "go" if Dan Mullen we're interested in becoming a Trojan.