Since I saw you in high school you have really transformed yourself physically. How much bigger physically are you now compared to what you were in high school?
"I gained 25 pounds since high school. And it is mostly muscle. The weight program that Coach Court has us on and the food that we eat you really don't have any choice but to gain."
Did you realize early on that you needed to redshirt your freshman season?
"Yes sir, I knew that."
What caused you to believe that?
"I was competing and doing my best going against the twos and threes but when I stuck my nose in with the ones I saw that I needed to gain more weight and put on more muscle."
Did you get pushed around?
"I didn't get pushed around. Going against A.J. (Jefferson) and Chris (Jones), I could block them but I couldn't block them consistently. I knew that I needed to be stronger, more mental and more physical to be able to block them consistently."
Was it also a case of needing to learn better technique?
Did you know much technique when you first got to Mississippi State?
"In high school I didn't know the technique that I know now. In high school the only thing that we did was run off the ball and move and push people. Now there is a lot more technique."
How difficult was it to redshirt?
"When I first redshirted I didn't want to. But as we got on in the season I knew I needed to redshirt. Then I was a juice boy trying to cheer the team on. Basically, I felt good being a juice boy cheering the team on."
Since the redshirt year how much better prepared are you to play in a game?
"Right now I am in the film room trying to learn the plays, trying to learn my craft."
Unlike defensive linemen, the five offensive linemen have to all be on the same page. How difficult is that aspect of being an offensive lineman?
"It is really not difficult but at the same time if you messed up you will know it on a play."
In other words, if you make a bad play you mess up an entire play?
"Yes sir, but most likely my guy is not going to get by me."
Where does that kind of confidence come from?
"Just learning my plays. You have confidence once you know what you are doing. Once I put on all this weight I knew I was capable of stopping Chris Jones and A.J. and all of them. Now I have confidence that I am ready to play."
What have you done against them that have given you that confidence?
"There will be plays where I have blocked them and there will be plays where they blocked me. But most of the time, if I am doing my technique right and dong things that I was taught, then I will be more successful."
What has going against Chris Jones in practice done for you other than give you confidence?
"Going gainst Chris and A.J. has really gotten me better because I know that they are going to go hard every single play. And I know that I am going to have to go hard every single play."
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.