[An ornate office at the Mississippi State athletics complex. Dan Mullen is seated in a plush, brown leather chair, The Art of War open on the desk in front of him. He appears to be meditating.
[An assistant coach walks in.
[MULLEN opens his eyes, looks at his assistant calmly, waiting for him to proceed.]
ASSISTANT: I was just going over some of what we had talked about what we might want to do for the Florida game ...
MULLEN: Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is no escape, and they will prefer death to flight. If they will face death, there is nothing they may not achieve.
ASSISTANT: Um, yes sir, but ...
MULLEN: All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.
ASSISTANT: Perhaps another time.
[MULLEN resumes his meditation. Another assistant enters.]
ASSISTANT: Coach, do we know what we're doing at quarterback yet?
MULLEN: The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat: - let such a one be dismissed!
ASSISTANT: Well, just let me know when you make your mind up.
[He leaves. Another assistant enters.]
ASSISTANT: Coach, I've been thinking. How long should we leave our starters in for the game against Jackson State?
MULLEN: Though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.
ASSISTANT: So that means ...
MULLEN [momentarily puzzled]: I'm not sure. Hold on a minute. Let me consult the best expert I know of. [Dials phone.] Hey, Urban. It's Dan.
SEC 2009: Mississippi State
MONDAY: Mississippi State Looks to Leave the Misery Behind, The Living Ghost of Mississippi State Past
LATER TODAY: The Croominator's Record Laid Bare, The Schedule
WEDNESDAY: The Depth Chart
FRIDAY: Feedback and Conclusions