How have you transformed your body since you got to State? What did you weigh and how much do you weigh now?
"I came in a little overweigh, a little out of shape after my senior year due to slacking off toward the end. I probably lost 15 pounds, then gained about 15 to 20 pounds in muscle working with (Mississippi State strength) Coach (Matt) Balis. I've worked hard so I can get out on the field and help the team."
What is your height and weight now?
"I'm 6-4 and weigh about 305."
It's a good 305, isn't it?
"Yes sir, I can move with it."
Is this the best you have ever felt, strength-wise and condition-wise?
"Yeah, it's the best shape I have ever been in. We had our conditioning test and I killed it. I feel good about it. I had a great summer trying to transition over to the field. it's a completely different game from the weight room to the field, technique-wise."
You said you came in overweight. How tough was it on you last summer and how did it compare to this summer?
"Last summer, I came in and didn't really know what to expect. I came in kind of like completely blind, not knowing what to expect. I got here and thought to myself that, 'dang, this is going to be rough.' In July, it got a little better and as it went on it got better and better. This summer, I came in knowing what to do so I just tried to kill everything. I knew what they expected and what they wanted from me. So I came in with the mindset that I needed to go in and kill everything so I could show everybody that I can play."
Which has been tougher on you, the conditioning or the weight lifting?
"For me, it has always been easier for me to run. The weight room is kind of my weakness right now. I'm trying to get my strength up. I've had to transition from high school when I lifted when I wanted to to trying to be specific on what I am doing now. I'm trying to get my bench (press) and squat up. So I would say the weight room is where my weakness is right now. I'm just trying to work on that everyday and get better."
What part are you trying to work on the most - upper body or lower body?
"I need to get a lot stronger with my upper body. I'm happy with my lower body strength right now. I need to get my bench (press) up."
I know you are a center on the offensive line. You also play on special teams. What position do you play on special teams?
"Right now, they have me at left rocker on field goals. It's like the tight end for field goals. I'll be on a shield when we punt. And I'm pretty sure they will have me on kickoff returns, too."
You are third team center behind Quentin Saulsberry and Dillon Day. Do you play any other position other than center?
"I've played guard in the past but right now they just want me to play center. If I know everything at center, I can basically know everything at any other position. I'm having to ID and know all the plays, so he's trying to get me really in tune with the offense."
Has coming here lived up to your expectations or been more than your expectations?
"It has worked out better than I had hoped. I have gotten a lot more experience and a lot more snaps than I thought I would get. But I've been working hard, trying to prove myself. And I think they have finally seen that I can play and that I will give all I have for the team."
This is your second year. How much more do you know about the offense now that you have that year under your belt?
"It is so much easier when you know what is coming at you, when you know who to ID, who you are going against. Last year I was kind of like going in and thinking I'm just going to block this one guy. But in college you can't do that because everybody is moving and you have different blitzes. You have to think all the time. Now, when I look up and see something or hear a call from our tackle I know what is coming. If you know what is coming, technique is easy then. If you don't know what is coming you are just lunging."
How did you learn all of that? Was it a combination of your football meetings and reps on the field?
"Oh yeah, it is a combination. It is a combination of how the coach likes to ID things and how he likes for his centers and guards to block. He teaches us (in the meeting) a certain rule he gives up. Different formations have different IDs. And he teaches us in the classroom what technique to use. We have to pick through everybody and make sure we have the right one."
Each day in practice do you try to key on certain things so you can improve in those particular area?
"Everyday you do things over and over to try to build muscle memory. Once you get everything down, then that is when you can try specific things such as where your hands are, where you are punching, things like that."
I know you are just going into your second year but you do have a year under your belt. Do you try to help the true freshmen or do you leave that up to the seniors?
"The entire third O-line are freshmen. Either they came in in January or this summer. They kind of get confused and I know what they are going through because I went through the same stuff last year. It's like 100 miles per hour and you are thinking at 50. They are confused but it's something you have to expect. They will ask me questions and I will try to help them the best I can and to the best of my knowledge. If I don't know something, then I will usually send them to an older guy. But for the most part I can help them out on the easier stuff."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.