Why are you so excited about this year's defense?
"I really think we are going to have a really special group. There is so much chemistry on the defense. We are two and three deep at every position. And everybody is competing for playing time."
When I talked to defensive coordinator Geoff Collins about the defense he mentioned a lot of players who are leaders. You were one of them. Is that something that you are very proud of?
"Oh yeah, I definitely pride myself on it. I try to do everything the right way. I try to lead by example. A lot of times teams don't have good leadership. But we learned it when we were young and we are teaching it to the other guys now so that they will be leaders later on. That will cause the program to continue to go up."
Who are some of the young guys who didn't play too much or play at all that you think will surprise fans when they step on the field?
"I think all of our young guys have been doing good. They come out here ever day and compete and learn things. I think all of our young guys have a shot (to be good). If they continue to work hard and compete then the sky is the limit for them."
What do you do as a veteran to help the young guys during practice?
"I just try to motivate them. I try to be in their ear and be positive. If they mess up I just tell them that we all make mistakes and then tell them ways that they can prevent it in the future. I tell them I've been in their shoes before and everybody can get better."
What are your thoughts about the Mississippi State offense?
"I like the offense. I think that we have a lot of versatility over there with Dak being the quarterback and different type receivers, the o-line doing good. They are explosive, man. I think a lot of teams better watch out because we have a lot of playmakers on our offense. And I think we will live up to that, too."
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.