A Q&A With Junior TE Gus Walley

Mississippi State junior tight end Gus Walley talks to the media.

It looks like you are primed to be a starting tight end on this year's team. You will be replacing Malcolm Johnson. Do you feel like there is any pressure on you?
"There is a lot of pressure. Malcolm, those are big shoes to fill. I feel a lot of pressure everyday. But I come out, block everything out and just focus on my job. I just have to take it one day at a time."

What is your comfort level with the offense?
"My comfort level is real good. I know the playbook, the signals, the calls, why we are doing it. It is just like backyard balling. You just have to go out and have fun."

What did you learn from Malcolm during the time he was here?
"Everything. Everything that I know about the game today is due to Malcolm Johnson. He taught me everything that I need to know. Coming out of high school I was a receiver just like he was. And just like it was with him, it was foreign to me when I first came in. But he took me under his wing and taught me everything that I need to know about the game."

Did he do that immediately when you got here?
"Immediately. When I first got here the old facility lockers were two-people all the way around. And he was my locker mate. He was the first person that I knew on this team. And he just took me under his wing and showed me everything that I needed to know."

What did you learn the most from him?
"Learning defenses, coverages and fronts. And noticing stuff like blitzes and how they are coming. How the safeties would play, especially if they would bring a corner blitz. He just taught me how to read stuff like that."

How much did last year help your confidence?
"It did a lot for me. But last year I was real uncomfortable out there. I was thinking too much and didn't play the game like I knew I was supposed to. But this year I feel a lot more comfortable."

When did you reach the comfort level that you now feel?
"Probably early spring. But (fall) camp is when I really felt comfortable."

What are your thoughts about the other tight ends?
"Darrion Hutcherson is coming along good. He is a big, strong body who fits the two tight end set perfectly. And a newcomer that we have, Justin Johnson, is picking up on this offense really well. What they did at Hoover (High School) is the same that we are doing. It is just a different position for him. But he is picking up on it really well."

What are your thoughts about how the tight ends did in the scrimmage?
"We still have a lot of work to do. A lot of guys did good and a lot of guys didn't do good. We'll have to fix things in the next couple of days."

How did you do in the scrimmage?
"I did pretty good. I commentated the entire scrimmage. I sat out on the sidelines. I had a little ankle injury, nothing major, but I'm back and full go. So, I'm doing good."

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 swindoll@maxxsouth.net.

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