Talk about the new defensive system that the new coaches are installing?
"It is a lot different than last year. The terminology is different. There is no grab-butting, we get in there get things done and get out of there. I like it."
You are playing what I is normally labled a defensive end but you are called a rover. What is the difference between a regular defensive end and your rover position?
"It is a defensive end/linebacker. Some fronts I will be a defensive end and some fronts I am going to be a linebacker."
Why did they decide to put you at rover?
"They say that I am quick and can move a little bit. And that is what they need for that position. For the other (defensive) end, they need a more heavyset guy who is more a power-based guy."
What do you think about your defensive line coach, Brick Haley?
"We haven't been around him that much, but, from what I see, he is a good guy and will be on you hard. He really wants you to do the little things, get the little things right and make big plays."
What was the reaction of the players when Coach Croom talked about his discipline policy?
"At first, when he first came, he talked and the players looked stunned for a minute, but they came to their senses. They saw that they weren't going to make it on this team without following his rules. From the beginning of the spring until now, we have come a long way as far as attitude."
You came from a high school, Wayne County High School, that has a very successful program, so, you have been around a winner. What have you seen since Coach Croom and his staff have come onboard that makes you believe he will turn the Mississippi State program around?
"When I was at Wayne County, we never doubted the guy next to us or behind us. We always knew he was going to take care of his business and we would take care of ours. That's the biggest difference that I have seen since I have been here. We are now beginning to believe in the guys behind us and beside us. If it turns out like it did at Wayne County, we will have a successful season."
In the new strength program, emphasis is placed on having a lot of strength coaches. Has it helped the players to have so much help when in the weight room?
"It really has. Some people, if you aren't there to watch them, will slack off. If you have somebody watching you every step of the way, you are going to put out your best and do whatever it takes to get it done."
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.