You are one of the keys to making the Mississippi State defense one of the best in the SEC. What are your thoughts about this year's MSU defense?
"I think it is a phenomenal defense. Having Wes Rea at first base makes every other infielder better. He cleans up all the messes we may make. He picks balls out of the dirt, knows when to come off the bag, and has unbelievable hands and quick feet. John Holland and Matthew Britton have unbelievable arm strength. And Britton has the experience. This is his fourth year so he knows what to expect, how to slow the game down. And John Holland also had some experience at Florida State, so I think he knows what to expect as well."
Do you feel comfortable with both Holland and Britton?
"Yeah, I do. Both can play either second or third. And both are really, really good. John and I have good chemistry together. That comes from getting so many reps together and communicating and playing scrimmages and practicing."
Although you are a senior, you are a two-year senior. But I get the impression that you almost feel like a fourth-year senior because you seem to be so comfortable around everyone. Am I correct in saying that?
"Yeah. I think part of that is because throughout my college career I have spent summers in New York and Minnesota. I have been all over the place and dealt with foreign territory, meeting new people and having to get comfortable in a foreign environment. Plus, I have had the support of the MSU fans and the program and family that we have here."
You mentioned family. I see a lot of chemistry on this year's team. Chemistry comes from players sincerely liking each other. And you guys seem to really like each other. Do you feel the same way?
"I think that is an accurate statement. Everyone gets along with each other. Everyone knows the expectations, everyone has the same goals and everyone is pulling for each other. And obviously, as the year goes on and you play games, the chemistry is only going to get tighter."
We talked about defense and chemistry. What are your thoughts about the potential of the hitting of this year's team?
"I think we are a different offense this year. I think we are more well-rounded. Having guys like Reid Humphreys, John Holland and Brent Rooker and other guys with experience makes us more well-rounded. We are going to run, hit for power. We will have more big innings. We will get 2 to 3 runs an inning as opposed to maybe 1 run in an inning. And I think that will be huge for us because there were times last year when we couldn't score a run and our pitchers were unbelievable. Now, I think we have guys who can come through and get that big hit."
You mentioned running. There are three guys on the team that can really run, Jake Vickerson, Jacob Robson and Michael Smith. As a two-hole hitter, what advantages are there hitting behind them?
"What is special about having guys like Robson, Vickerson and Smith hitting in front of you is it is not automatic that you have to bunt them over. They can steal the base or you can hit and run. There are so many more options that you can do when the leadoff guy gets on. And the pitchers have to pay more attention to the runner and also be quicker to the plate. The result of that is they slide step and leave balls up in the zone, so you get better pitches to hit. That is pretty exciting to think about."
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 email@example.com.