During the last two years, your team is 2-8 against SEC Western Division teams. What are your thoughts about that?
"Things like that stay in the back of your mind. You are 2 and 8. But this is a new season and you want to take one game at a time. One thing we always say is beat the west. That is our main goal this year. But for us to do that, every guy has to do their part. So, we are just taking it one day at a time. Everything else will fall into place."
After a jittery start did you feel like James Carmon got into the flow of the game and had a pretty good game overall?
"Yeah, I feel like he was more comfortable with everything that was going on around him. Like Coach told us, we have to help him out because that was his first game being an offensive tackle. James, due to repetitions, is getting better each and every day. And he's getting more confident. That's a (big) part of the game - if you are confident in the things you are doing you will be successful."
Talk a little more about James' play in the Memphis game. How do you feel he did overall?
"I think he did some good things. There were some things that he messed up on but he knows he messed up on them. There were some times out there where he was lost and he didn't know what to do. He went back and watched film and saw what he did wrong. Now he'll correct them.."
What will he do to correct them?
"It's going out knowing what you have to do better. Coach always tells us you can't just get better in one day. Coach Wilson, the D-line coach, always tells us to find one thing to get better at each day. If you do that then you will accomplish a lot that day."
You are going up against a young Auburn defensive line that got hit pretty hard last week against Utah State. What does that mean to you as far as being successful in your run game?
"One thing about us is we love to run the ball. No matter who we are playing or what stadium we are playing in, we love to run the ball. But Auburn is a good team. They are an SEC team. But they made mistakes in the game. We also made mistakes in our game. Against them, we are just going to have to execute our gameplan. It's not about the opposing team but more about you."
What do you remember about your first time to play in Auburn two years ago?
"It's loud. It's a different atmosphere. It's not at home. But that should be a none factor. Sometimes it's a factor and sometimes it's not. But at the same time it shouldn't be a factor when it comes down to executing the plays. That's all we have to."
Does it help this MSU team that it is a veteran team that has played at Auburn before? If so, how will the seniors on this team help the young guys prepare to play at Auburn?
"Oh yeah. What we have to do is take the fact that we have guys who have played there and use it to our advantage. Guys already know what to do and how to do it."
During the time you weren't playing against Memphis what did you see from the young offensive line that you liked?
"I saw guys who improved on some things throughout the game. You can't just come to practice and say you are going to work on this or work on that. Sometimes, when you see something you weren't perfect on you start to work on it almost immediately."
Mississippi State moved from 20th to 16th in the polls. I know you aren't supposed to focus on things like that but you must be enjoying seeing things like that happen to the program?
"We are excited about being ranked (as one of the top teams) in the country. You want to be one of the best teams in the country but you also want to be the best. You can't let things like that lull you to sleep. I think a lot of teams get ranked and have people pat them on the back but, at the same time, they don't do anything with that. You have to use things like that to motivate you to continue to get better."
So you use that to motivate yourself?
"Oh yeah, but as you are climbing up that mountain it gets harder because everybody is coming after you."
That's why you have someone like strength and conditioning coach Matt Balis, right?
"Oh yeah, that's why we have Matt Balis (laugh)."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.