How are you doing at your new position, tight end? "I should be coming into this game as the starting tight end. I worked at tight end during the off-week. And Coach Watts likes my work ethic and what I have done on the field at tight end. So, it looks like right now, I will be the starting tight end going into the game."
Do you feel you are ready for that challenge?
"Oh yeah. A funny thing is my good friend, Nautyn McKay-Loescher, is their starting DE and he and I will be battling it out."
How did you moving from fullback to tight end come about?
"I talked to Coach Sherrill just before the bye week and told him I was unhappy with fullback. I am busting my butt during practice and should be getting more playing time. He said he totally agreed with me. He asked me if I could play tight end and I told him I played some tight end at Alabama my first year there."
Do you find that Coach Sherrill is pretty open to listening to the players?
"Yeah, he is great. I feel really comfortable with Coach Sherrill and hate that he is leaving. You can go and talk to him about anything. He is very down to heart. He is not one of those guys you get nervous when you go talk to him. Out of all the coaches that I've had, he is the best of all of them when it comes to being a players' coach."
The media and fans on the internet speculate about who the next coach will be. Do the players also speculate?
"Not really. We hear the rumors but we just hope to get a good coach, someone who wants to be part of the Bulldog family."
Why did you decide to attend Mississippi State after transferring from Alabama?
"I was looking at a couple of different schools, (Mississippi State), Tennessee and Ole Miss. I was really looking at Tennessee but I decided to come down with my dad and talk to Coach Sherrill. It was awesome. I had always respected Coach Sherrill because he is a great coach and had been around for a long time.
"I had a meeting with him and I told him I would be back in about a week. I went on and talked to my parents about it. I told dad he plays physical football and that is the type football I like to play, so I said I really want to play there. Plus, it is really close to home versus Tennessee which is 6 hours away, so it would be easier for my parents to come see me play. I didn't like Ole Miss."
Didn't you grow up an Ole Miss fan?
"Yeah, I grew up an Ole Miss fan. My dad and sister played there. My brother played football there for a year, then he finished up playing rugby. So, I grew up a big Ole Miss fan, but things change."
What happened at Alabama?
"I was there for two years and I was promised a scholarship my first year, but Coach DuBose got fired and all the coaches left. And I was sitting there with (no scholarship). The new coaches came in and I told Coach Fran my situation. He told me that he had heard about it, but said he had to see me play. I was second team fullback going into his first year. Then, I came out as the starting fullback in the spring when probation hit (Alabama). I told him my parents were struggling. I told him there was only so much money and I needed the scholarship. I told him y'all promised me one and I am sitting here as your starting fullback. I told him he could so something for me. He said probation had hit them that they didn't have any scholarships. So, I told him to hand me my release."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher and owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial site for Mississippi State sports since October, 1996. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org