Dillon Day Comfortable at Center

Mississippi State redshirt freshman center Dillon Day is new to the position but feels comfortable thanks to a full season of games now under his belt.

"I have grown as the season has gone on," said Day, who started 8 of the 12 games he played in this season. "After the LSU game (the third game of the season), I was comfortable because I knew what I had to do and what was going to happen. (And) I have done so much more stuff (correctly) after playing all those games. I don't know exactly when the turning point was. I (just) grew every game and I'm still growing."

Speaking of growing, Day credits his freshman redshirt year as being a big help in preparing him for this season.

"No one wants to redshirt but when you look back on it you see how much it helped you," said the 6-4, 285-pounder. "It helped you get stronger and learn the plays, so it helped you get to where everybody is at. You (are playing against) guys who are 20, 21, 22-years-old and you are just 18 (years-old). I guess you could say it helped me learn what it is all about."

Despite playing against guys older, bigger and stronger, Day, from the first game to now, hasn't been intimidated.

"I wasn't intimidated at all," said the youngster. "(But) I didn't want to be the guy who would let the team down. Maybe they say, 'if we had (injured MSU offensive lineman) Tobias (Smith) it would have been alright.' I want it to be just like it was or better (even with Smith out of the lineup). I didn't want everybody pointing their finger at me."

While the physicalness of the game hasn't been that difficult for Day, learning a new position, center, has been a challenge.

"The first time I ever snapped was about eight or nine months ago," said Day, who was primarily a tackle in high school. "In addition to the snapping, you have to make all these calls for the offensive line, look at the defense, things like that. You have to be a very smart player as a center. You have to have a lot more knowledge to play center. I didn't know you had to do all of that."

To gain that knowledge, Day is working overtime.

"I guess the difference between high school and college is the amount of time you put into it (in college)," said Day. "You spend so much more time on it than you did in high school. In college, I am more precise and more fundamental. (Because of that) you are doing a lot of stuff on your own time after you leave the facilities."

Including studying film of his opponent.

"I do my research on the guy that I am going against," said Day. "In high school I just went out and hit somebody. But in college you have so much more to do and learn. You can't just go out and hit someone. (Now) I see what (my opponent) can do so I'm not going to be out there getting surprised."

Speaking of going out and hitting someone like he did in high school. Does he still have that mean streak he showed on video?

"I have matured a lot," said Day. "In high school if I committed a personal foul, I thought who cares. Now, because I'm playing center, there is so much more to do and think about. But the mean streak is still there (laugh)."

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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 swindoll@genespage.com.

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