Mississippi State Football: Dan Mullen Hits a Home Run Filling Staff Vacancies

Jake WimberlyContributor IIIJanuary 11, 2013

Jan 01, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen before the game against the Northwestern Wildcats in the Gator Bowl at EverBank Field.  Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly after the end of the 2012 season in which we saw Mississippi State lose five of their last six ball games, head coach Dan Mullen lost defensive backs coach Melvin Smith to Auburn and defensive line coach Chris Wilson to Georgia. 

Mullen, like a lot of head coaches around the country this time of year, must reevaluate his staff, fill vacancies and make changes.  

Mullen went a long way in solidifying his staff over the last few weeks by filling those vacancies and hit a home run in doing so. 

First, Mullen addressed the need for a new defensive line coach by hiring former Kentucky defensive line coach David Turner.

This will be Turner's second stint in Starkville, as he was originally hired by ex-Mississippi State head coach Sylvester Croom back in 2007. 

Turner was responsible for the recruitment of former Mississippi State players Fletcher Cox, Josh Boyd and Pernell McPhee.  He also helped develop former players Titus Brown and Jessie Bowman, among others. 

You can read Turner's full profile right here

And, just Friday morning, Scout.com's Steve Robertson confirmed Mullen filled his defensive backs coaching vacancy with former NFL veteran and Arizona Cardinals assistant Deshea Townsend. 

Townsend, a Mississippi native, played his high school football at South Panola in Batesville, MS and played on the collegiate level at the University of Alabama before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1998. Townsend was a fourth-round selection and played for the Steelers for 12 seasons, garnering two Super Bowl rings in the process. 

Townsend, who still has a home in Oxford, Mississippi, is expected to bring new life and a spark to a Mississippi State secondary that by all accounts was lackluster in their biggest games of 2012. 

Townsend, one of the younger coaches now on staff, should also be a spark for the Bulldogs staff on the recruiting trail due to his ability to relate to high school kids and his familiarity with the state of Mississippi.

You can read Townsend's profile here

For a head coach in college football, it's not just about X's and O's and the Jimmy's and the Joe's; it's also about the people you surround yourself with to work with you daily, and in David Turner and Deshea Townsend, Dan Mullen just made two home run hires that should benefit the Bulldogs in 2013 and beyond.