What do you think about (MSU strength coach) Jim Nowell's strength and conditioning program?
"I love it. It is a lot of explosive lifting, a lot of stuff that will help you on the field. It makes your entire body strong. It is specifically for hitting somebody harder and quicker when you come off the football and not just a getting strong type program."
Have the off-season workouts been harder this year?
"Last year, we had the off-season workouts but they were only during the month of February. Those were hard, they were hard. These are hard also, but they are over a longer period of time. So, there's more benefit to you."
How much have you improved since you started using his program?
"I've improved quite a bit. I can't remember my exact (lift) numbers."
Do you know much about the new MSU offense?
"I haven't been able to study it much, but we've learned a few plays and formations. It looks fun."
How will the tight ends be used in it?
"It seems like tight ends are going to be used a lot in the passing game, which I like. But, you are going to have to block, also. It's a real good offense for a tight end."
I know it's very tentative at this point in time, but you are listed number 1 on the depth chart at tight end. How does it make you feel knowing you are listed number 1 right off the bat?
"It makes me feel good. It makes me feel that (the coaches) think that I deserve to be there. I am going to work hard and do the best that I can."
I've asked this of all the players. You realize, as all the players do, that Coach Croom is going to be a very tough disciplinarian. What has been the reaction of the players to that?
"Coach Croom is a strict coach but he is a great guy. Everybody loves him. No one minds doing the things that we have to do, because we believe in Coach Croom and know that he is going to make us the best team he can make us."
We've talked about discipline, but have you seen other things that he has brought in that you feel will really help this team to succeed?
"Just making people finish things that they start. He's real strict on going to class, people making their grades, (finishing) the early morning runs that we did two days a week during the entire off-season. He doesn't want anybody to not be able to play next year that needs to play for us. That's why he's been strict on everybody making their grades."
What are your thoughts about the start of spring practice?
"I'm interested in seeing what it is going to be like. Just like a fan, like everyone, I'm excited to see what it is going to be like, see how everybody jells. We don't know what to expect. Since I've been here, I've just been with Coach Sherrill. It's an entire new coaching staff, now, so we don't know what to expect from practice."
Your new tight ends coach is Coach Freddie Kitchens. What are your thoughts about him?
"I like Coach Kitchens. He is a great coach who is nice, kids around and has fun. But, he seems like he is going to be a hard, tough coach on us. And I think he is going to get down to business when it is time to."
What are the MSU students talking to the players about as far as the Croom Era is concerned?
"I think the students are excited. As we all know, everybody around here loves football and everybody is ready for us to start winning again. And I think Coach Croom has given all the students something new, a new hope for next season."
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.