How does it feel to be back at the quarterback position after playing wide receiver last season?
"It feels real good knowing that I'm back throwing the ball again. I'm back to what God blessed me with."
Do you feel like playing last season benefited you for this coming season?
"I think it helped me a lot because it gave me exposure to how games are played, the crowds and the difference in the speed of the game compared to high school."
You are playing in a new offense this spring. Have you had a chance to learn much of it?
"I'm not going to say I know everything or most of it because it is new to me. I just have to get myself focused like I did with the first playbook and learn what I have to do. I feel like Coach McCorvey and Coach Croom are going to lead me, Kyle (York) and Aries (Nelson) in the new offensive system."
Based on what you know about the offense, what do you like about it?
"It is mostly five step, three step and putting the ball in your best players hands and let them make plays. We have a great supporting cast with Ray Ray (Bivines), McKinley (Scott)."
Has Coach Croom sat down with you and talked about what he expects from you in his offensive system?
"As a quarterback in his system, you have to always study. Each day you are going to get something thrown at you that you have to learn."
How much have you been able to study?
"We really don't have that much to study right now because we are mostly going over formations, things like that. I'm learning my formations and learning one play at a time."
Coach Croom, by his talk and his actions, has let it be known that he is very serious about maintaining discipline on this team. What do you think about his discipline policy?
"I think the discipline that he has brought to the team has been good. Guys need somebody to push them every once in a while so that they can become a good team. Coach Croom played in the Bear Bryant era. He's been there. He knows we can be good like the teams that Bear Bryant coached."
So, personally, you have no problem with his discipline?
"He's my coach. I've done everything that I'm supposed to do. You know you have to get your grades. You know that you have to get to the (team) meetings. The coaches shouldn't have to tell you to go to class or go to meetings. You should want to do that for your teammates. You aren't playing just for yourself, you are playing for them, too. I'm used to his type (coach) due to my high school coach, Coach Miller. Coach Miller was tough. Coach Croom is tougher than Coach Miller, to me. It's a new beginning."
You were somewhat of a joker last year. Are you trying to become more of a leader this year?
"I am trying to become more of a leader. Last year, my role was just to learn, just trying to get a taste of how it felt to be in the SEC and be on a college team. Now, I know my role, I'm a leader and have to make plays."
Although it is very, very early in the spring, did it surprise you that you are listed number 1 on the depth chart?
"It totally shocked me. Last year, I was kind of getting depressed because I really wanted to play quarterback. I love quarterback. When I went home, it was like, 'it is tough mom, it is tough.' She told me that I am going to be back at quarterback and 'you will (eventually) be number one.' I just prayed every night and made the best of my opportunity."
Being number one on the depth chart, does that put more pressure on you or do you see it as an opportunity?
"I think it is more of a challenge because I know that I can play quarterback because I have played it before. I just have to show my teammates that I can do it."
I don't know how much you had to read defenses in high school, so I don't really know how good you are at that part of your game. What kind of challenge will it be to you to learn to read college defenses?
"In high school we had a passing game so I had to learn how to read defenses. I know it will be hard sometimes when defenses are in disguise, but I just have to get into the playbook and watch film to see what they do."
What is your opinion of your position coach, Coach McCorvey, and Coach Croom? Has it stayed the same or gone up since you have gotten to know them?
"It has gone way up. When I first heard that Coach Croom got the job, I thought we are going to play for Coach Croom, a coach who played for Bear Bryant and has coached some of the best like Brett Favre. After I met him, I also realized he is a very special person. He not only coaches you, but he also teaches you how to be a good person and do good academically. Coach McCorvey is upfront and honest with you. What I like about him so much is he is always there to help us."
What do you think about Coach Nowell's strength and conditioning program? And how has it helped you personally?
"I think it is good. When I came in as a freshman, I weighed in at 195. Right now, I'm up to 208. I'm a lot stronger and faster. He has also help me with my quickness."
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.