How did you initially deal with being redshirted your true freshman season?
"I knew, coming into this program, that I was going to have to work. They didn't tell me that I was going to redshirt until after the (preseason) camp. But physically and mentally I knew I wasn't ready. So, redshirting wasn't that bad. I knew I was going to have to develop and get better at everything, get stronger and faster."
Was there something that happened during that first preseason camp that made you realize that you needed the redshirt year?
"It was the learning process, the different techniques. You come from high school and your coaches are teaching you different things. Then you get here and you have to learn the coaches way of doing things. When you are in meetings it is a different learning process. You have to stay focused throughout the meeting. If you miss one thing, then you basically miss everything."
So, it wasn't so much physical but more mental?
"Yeah, it was more mental than anything."
When do you think you started understanding things?
"Kind of when we got into bowl (game) prep. That is when we got a lot of coaching and a lot of reps with the team. Coach (David) Turner was more on us then. Then, when the spring got here I started learning everything. I started moving faster with my techniques."
I guess it was a lot more fun then, wasn't it?
"Oh yeah, it was a lot of fun. I was making more plays then."
I realize practice is a grind no matter when you do it. But was it more of a grind during the fall since you knew you weren't going to play in an actual game?
"I wouldn't say it was more of a grind. You still have to develop yourself. Really, it is more of a grind now because you know that you have to step up. And you know that you have to do things better than you did."
Last season which defensive linemen did you watch, which defensive linemen did you key on during the season? Or did you key on all of them?
"During camp last year I was watching Kaleb Eulls and P.J. Jones."
Why those two?
"Kaleb talked to me all the time. If I ever had a question he would talk to me and teach me everything. P.J. was the same way. This year I basically look at the guys in front me, guys like Chris Jones and Nelson Adams. They teach me the same things that I need to know."
What have you learned from those guys?
"Work ethic. They are beside me in the weight room keeping me up. They are telling me things, teaching me things. They want me on the field."
Now that you have been at MSU for a year, in what ways do you feel like you have improved?
"I feel a whole lot more improved. I just need to keep it going. I need to keep everything consistent. That is one part of me that I need to improve, being consistent."
Why are you not consistent?
"When you come in and you are here for a year you think you know everything but you don't know everything just yet. So, I just need to stay focused on everything"
Going back to how you have improved, is there one specific thing that you have improved the most?
"Really, my technique. Last year in camp I didn't have as much technique as I do now. I also move a lot faster, too, because I lost a lot of weight since last year."
What is your weight now and what did you weigh when you first got here?
"I weigh 303 now. When I came in I was 315. That is not a lot of difference but it was all baby fat. I had to cut that down. Then they turned that into muscle."
You know you will be playing in an actual game in a few weeks. What kind of excitement level do you have thinking about that?
"I am really excited about it because I haven't played in a game in awhile. I miss that feeling. When I was redshirting I felt like I was excited then because I was a juice boy. But now I will actually be playing. So, there is more excitement in me now."