You redshirted last season. What were your thoughts when you first found out that you were being redshirted?
"I tried to perform in camp to where I thought I would be ready to play in a game. As I kept preparing, I realized that I wasn't ready and kind of accepted being redshirted. And I knew in the end it would all work out for the best."
What caused you to realize that you weren't ready to play in a game as a true freshman?
"Going against bigger guys. And also realizing that you really have to know the defenses that you are facing. There was a lot of mental stuff going on in your head and you realize you have to be prepared for all of that."
You were on the scout team last fall. Due to that, you really weren't being coached by your position coach like that players who were actually going to play in a game. What did you try to do to help yourself become a better player?
"I just told myself everyday that I needed to block Kaleb Eulls. I knew he was one of the best technique-wise. So I knew if I worked against him it would pay off."
How much did the bowl practices help you? I know the coaches worked with the young guys early on in the bowl practices.
"By the time we got to the bowl practices I was able to focus on my steps without having to think about them. I could focus on my technique and other things like that. The bowl prep was what helped me in the spring."
In the spring you were getting more individual attention from your position coach. How much did the spring practices help you prepare?
"The spring was like I had gotten my plays down to where I almost knew them. I just needed to work on my technique and get it down."
Technique, was that something that you thought you knew when you got to Mississippi State, then after a few practices you realized that you didn't really know the necessary technique.
"Yes sir, I think that is what everybody thinks when they first come in. They think they do this and do that but then you watch yourself on film and that tells you everything about yourself. I knew I wasn't ready because I used to do some crazy stuff on film."
What was some crazy stuff?
"Going the wrong way. That was mostly in the fall but I messed up a couple of times in the spring, too. But I haven't gone the wrong way since the spring. I got it down now."
What did the other guys do when they saw you doing crazy things on film?
"Some of the guys laughed. But Coach Hevesy asked if they wanted him to pull up their old film."
What were some good things that you did during the spring that Coach Hevesy pointed out to you?
"Probably the best thing that I did in the spring. I did what he said. When he tells you something he knows what he is talking about."
Do you talk to any of the defensive linemen that you go against in practice about the good and the bad things that you do? And do they give you advice to help you?
"Yeah, I talk to Chris Jones. He told me about my pass-rush. He told me if I was pass-rushing him he told me how he would go against me. He told me some things that I needed to work on."
Did he tell you the things that he liked that you do?
"No, he doesn't tell me that. But one thing that I heard Nick James say is I come off the ball hard."
What is your height and weight now?
"I would say that I am 6-foot-2, 300."
What did you weigh when you first got to MSU?
"I was about 335. I cut my weight down and gained more muscle through our development program."
How much better do you feel at 300 pounds?
"It is a lot easier to move and easier to breathe without all of that weight. I feel like I can fly around out there like I did in high school."
What kind of excitement level do you feel going into this year knowing that you will play in games?
"Yeah, I am excited. I know that a helmet might come off or a shoe lace might break and I might be the next one to go in. I know that I will have to always be ready to go in with the ones."
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.