ScoutTV: Preston Smith Interview

ScoutTV: Mississippi State senior defensive end Preston Smith talks one-on-one with Gene's Page.

I'm going to bring up something that I didn't tell you that I was going to bring up. I want to show people your new tattoo and you tell me the significance of it. (I point the camcorder to Preston's left forearm)
"It shows my de dictation to Mississippi State. I love tattoos and body art. When I went home I decided to get this tattoo of the Mississippi State Bulldog and the Egg Bowl Trophy with my number on it."

So it shows that you are a Bulldog for life?

Obviously, you are a Bulldog for life. You have a Mississippi State Bulldog shirt on, you have a Bulldog tattoo. Let's talk about that Bulldog defense. You are going into your fourth year. You saw what the defense was like when you first got here, you see what it is like now. There is a lot of hype on this year's defense. You see it every day in practice. What are your thoughts about it?
"We are a special defense as a group. A lot of guys came into together. A lot of guys who were a year ahead of me, we, basically, started playing together at the same time. We are a more mature defense. We have the same experience. Everybody knows what it takes to win. Everybody knows what it takes to make plays and make a difference on the field."

It's not just experience and depth but there is a lot of talent on the defense as well from the cornerbacks to the safeties to the linebackers and the defensive linemen.
"Yeah, there is a lot of talent, a lot of competition everyday. Everybody has to work hard to secure their spot. Our coaches tell us that nobody's spot is secure, so that makes everybody come to practice everyday hungry and ready to work and earn their spot and some playing time on the field."

This is your senior year, your last preseason practice. You smile about that. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing. Have you had thoughts about that, this is your last year?
"Yeah, this is the last go-around. It's basically like the last train ride. There is no coming back after this year. I have to focus on having a great year this year and after this year everything else will fall into place."

When you were first being recruited by Mississippi State you didn't know much about them. Have you thought about what you will remember when you leave Mississippi State, how special it is to you?
"There is a lot of tradition, real fans who want to see a lot of football players do real good in life other than on the football field. They want to see you do good as a family man, a husband, father, brother, cousin, whatever. They want to see you progress in life. It's not just about football here but about family. They want to mold you into a better man, a better person everyday."

You mentioned better man, better person but you are also a better player. How have you improved upon that player you were when you first got here as a freshman?
"Each year I try to work on something new. I watch film, have meetings with my coaches to see what I need to work on. And I try to work on those things during the offseason and at practice. And I try to improve each and every day as long as I get a chance too."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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