Dan Mullen was the fifth of the SEC's 14 head coaches to speak at the conference's media days this week, but he was the first to arrive at the podium in Hoover with actual, consequential questions to answer.
Jeffrey Simmons, a 6-foot-4, 251-pound defensive end and the No. 15 player in the Class of 2016 according to Rivals, signed with Mississippi State in February and the next month was filmed punching a female during a fight. After some question of whether or not Mississippi State would admit Simmons, he was allowed to enroll in early June with a one-game suspension.
That decision was announced during the SEC's spring meetings but after Mullen departed Destin, instead leaving athletics director Scott Stricklin as the first line of defense for Simmons's admittance. Tuesday served as Mullen's first chance to answer questions regarding Simmons, a decision Mullen claimed to have as little to do with as possible.
Still, Mullen is the head coach, and below we've reprinted in full -- as opposed to in 140-character snippets -- his answer as to what responsibility he would feel should Simmons commit another violent act as a Bulldog:
I would argue that Mullen isn't responsible for Jeffrey Simmons's actions -- Jeffrey Simmons is -- but he is accountable for them. And, as the head coach, Mullen doesn't just make himself accountable for Simmons's and his 100-plus other teammates' actions, he makes the Bulldogs' football program and Mississippi State University as a whole accountable in the process.
Regardless of the verbiage, Mullen's statement makes his other answers all the more confounding. How can he be responsible, as he puts it, for their actions yet completely devoid of responsibility for their being at Mississippi State in the first place?
That, simply, doesn't add up.
And then there was this answer: