STARKVILLE – Mississippi State assistant David Turner has spent 13 of his 27 years coaching within the SEC, spanning four programs.
Turner had stints at Alabama and Vanderbilt as well as two separate opportunities at Mississippi State and Kentucky. He got his first taste of SEC football coaching defensive ends for the Wildcats from 1993-94.
He later joined Sylvester Croom’s staff in Starkville as defensive line coach for the 2007-08 seasons and stayed on for Dan Mullen’s initial season in 2009. Turner traveled back to Lexington to serve on Joker Phillips’ staff from 2010-12 as defensive line coach and is now serving in the same capacity again for Mullen this fall.
“David has great experience as a defensive line coach,” Mullen said. “He’s coached here, there and a long time in the Southeastern Conference. He’s a veteran guy and knows how to deal with guys.”
In his previous stint at MSU, Turner tutored future NFL talents Josh Boyd, Fletcher Cox, Kyle Love and Pernell McPhee. This year, he inherited a variety of experience – two seniors, four juniors, four sophomores and seven freshmen.
“Our defensive line has so many guys in different stages of their careers,” Mullen said. “He has to deal with them as a whole as well as individually. He does a good job dealing with all of the different issues on and off the field.”
James: 'Great job'
Mullen raised eyebrows earlier this season after announcing his intentions to redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Nick James.
The 6-foot-5, 345-pounder from Long Beach appeared in eight games as a true freshman last year, notching five tackles. James and fellow 2012 defensive tackle signee Quay Evans both saw action during their initial season and were expected to be key contributors this fall.
Evans has appeared in five games recording three tackles and one for loss while James is being held out. But Mullen insists that James’ progression is going well.
“He’s done a great job with his development,” Mullen said “He’s really worked hard in school and is taking care of doing things the right way. That’s all part of the process. He has a long way to go but he’s certainly headed in the right direction.”
The Bulldogs have used nine members of its 2013 recruiting class this season, including seven true freshmen.
At the midway point of the year, Mullen said he hopes to preserve his remaining redshirts the rest of the way. However, unforeseen injuries could change those plans.
“You never know because injuries can always play a part for us down the road,” Mullen said. “We’ve been devastated by injuries so far this year so we might have to play some young guys we were planning on redshirting.”