"If anything, they look quicker and are running stronger. I think it has helped their endurance for sure. I think in the long run it will help them stay healthier."
What weight do you want them to play at this season?
"I gave Jerious a goal of 205. He fluctuates from 199 to 203. I wanted Nick Turner to be 195. He is right at 195. I wanted Fred Reid to be at 190 and he is right at it."
Do you want them to stay at that weight for their career here?
"No, I would like for them each year to get a little bigger and stronger. As long as they can keep their speed, I want them to keep getting bigger."
Talk about your impressions of freshman tailback Jason Jude.
"He is going to be a kid that is a tough runner in between tackles. That is somebody that we need.
"He is no different than any freshman. His head is swimming right now because he has had a lot thrown at him, more than he has had in his whole life. Everybody wants freshmen to come in and play right away, but sometimes it takes a little time because there is a big adjustment from high school to college."
Talk about your fullbacks. You have Darnell Jones as the starter and a couple of others behind him.
"Darnell is the best guy. Nick Signaigo and Bryson Davis are neck and neck. The thing I have to do is get Bryson more snaps."
What is your impression of Gerrod Rivers, the walk-on freshman from North Carolina?
"He is a quiet kid. His parents did a great job of raising him. He is a really good kid. He is a guy that may help us one of these days."
You have really high expectations for this group, don't you?
"I told them if my expectations are too high for them, then they need to let me know right now. I expect them to be the best group (of running backs) in the (SEC)."
I was impressed with the blocking of your backs.
"People don't understand the hardest thing for a back is not running the football. The hardest thing is learning pass protection. Who they have (to block) and how to (block). They are not asked to do that much in high school because they don't have to face the complicated defenses that we see. People try to pick on the backs, so we have to be good blockers. When you are only 195 and are trying to block a 250 pound guy, you have to use good angles and good leverage and use everything at your disposal."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.