I've noticed, even though you are one of the new guys on the block, you have already become one of the leaders on the team. Have you always had that leadership type personality?
"Yeah, I've always been the leader type. I've always been the type to encourage everybody. You never know when a word or two that you might say might be the thing to get a player to that next level. I've always considered myself a leader. I guess that is a gift that God has given to me."
You are second on the depth chart but you are still considered a strong leader. Talk about that.
"Leadership and respect doesn't go away just because you are second on the depth chart. No matter where you are on the depth chart, you always try to help everybody get better, even players above you on the depth chart."
What skills does Chris Swain bring to this Bulldog team?
"I consider myself a hard hitter. I consider myself a head-buster as we like to say. I love hitting. That is part of me. I feel if you hit them hard the next thing you know wide receivers are tip-toeing and you can intercept the ball. I bring hard-hitting, leadership, dedication, family orienting; I bring a lot of stuff to this team."
Talk about Coach Cooper and Coach Hallman. They have really brought a lot of discipline to the team. You are laughing while I ask this question.
"I'm laughing for the simple fact, if you ever showed up at practice, everybody would say either me or Gabe Wallace are getting chewed out by Coach Cooper. It's funny. But I always put it like this, if your coach doesn't yell at you and chew you out, then your coach doesn't care. Coach Cooper stays on my butt, on and off the field. People might say he doesn't like me, but I think Coach Cooper loves me more than anyone else on the team. Coach Curley Hallman, he also stays on me. He stays on me because he sees potential in me. They bringing the best out of me. And I love and appreciate them for that. I honestly feel that is why I'm second on the depth chart. I feel that they think I am not where I'm supposed to be in their eyes. I have more potential than what I'm putting out on the field. Therefore, until I get to the level that they want me to get to, I'm not going to play (first-team)."
Chris, I get the impression you are the type player that will not allow this team to have another three-win season like they have the past two seasons. What can you say that will make other MSU fans feel the same way I do?
"I will put is simply like this, tell the MSU fans how we are doing things around here and all they have to do is show up to the games and we will show out. It's just that simple. We have stepped it up. Our discipline level is better. We also do the small things to encourage each other, things such as us going to get each other up out of bed, calling each other in the morning to get each other to come to the workout and us leaning on each other. We have a whole new bond that people can't understand. We all act right, we are all going to class, we are doing things that is necessary to be a winner. We aren't going to sugar coat anything. A lot of colleges want to sugar coat everything, but we aren't going to sugar coat anything. This is a truth for real team. You can say or write whatever you want to, but MSU is the team."
Talk a little about the other leader in the secondary, Darren Williams. Have you seen the talent in Darren that so many folks did when he was in high school?
"When it comes to Darren Williams, words can't describe him. A lot of people come out of high school with a lot of hype but you don't really know that person until you get around him. The man is the Truth. His hard work and dedication in the weight room, the things he does off the field; those things show the type character he has. Working out alone when no one is watching, the little things he says to me, those show his leadership role. Darren Williams is one in a million. I'll play beside him, behind him, around him anytime."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher and owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial site for Mississippi State sports since October, 1996. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org