I thought you were a safety in junior college. Were you a safety or did you play cornerback?
"I played corner two years (in junior college)."
Most recruiting lists had you at 196 but you weighed 174 when you first got here. Did you lose weight during the summer?
"No sir, it was just a stat put out by my coach. At the time I was weighing about 180 and he just put the (196) down for the scouts. Now, I'm up to 184. I've gained about 10 pounds since I have been here."
Did you play a different system than Coach Cooper plays?
"Defensive-scheme wise in junior college, we ran all man-to-man. My two years in junior college I can count on one hand how many times I played zone. In high school I played a lot of zone but in junior college I played a lot of man."
Has it been pretty easy for you to pick up his system?
"I picked it up pretty easy because that is what we ran in high school. Now, we are playing both (man and zone). In the game Saturday, we went to a lot of man when I finally got in the game. I felt comfortable and like man more, but zone is easier. It is easier but you have to be more disciplined when you are in zone. You have to stay in the zone and not come up underneath stuff."
Have you noticed if playing zone has been more difficult for the true freshmen and even the sophomores who played under a man defense under the previous defensive coordinator?
"Yes, it is kind of hard but Coach Cooper and Coach Hallman are going out of their way to help. And Coach Cooper is doing a great job explaining everything. If we have any questions, he always explains everything. Then, he gives us a good picture with film, then on the board. We are picking it up but it is division-I and the players are faster than junior college and high school."
Has the speed of the game being a bigger adjustment than learning the defensive schemes?
"I can go back to the Oregon game. We get a lot of reps in practice, but it is different than going against the scout team and playing somebody that runs something like a 4.3 or 4.4 forty. It is different. But, as far as the schemes, they are great schemes. I enjoy the schemes. As a matter of fact, I love the schemes."
Do you feel the defense is playing better each week?
"We are. During (two-a-days) camp, we only saw what they were talking about and what was on the board. But when you get in the game and play the schemes, they are easier."
How are you doing, individually?
"At first, I wasn't comfortable because I spent the whole summer in summer school at junior college. I didn't get a chance to really work out. At first, it was a confidence thing because I hadn't been on the field all summer. Now that I'm getting my reps, everything seems to be coming back, so I'm feeling more comfortable about my abilities. All I need now is a chance to show why I was recruited to play here. I feel I am a great corner and I will (show that I am) a great corner. Time will take care of a lot of things."
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.