"I am honored to be here. I take pride in it and appreciate it."
Coach Croom feels like you can be one of the best defensive linemen in the SEC.
"I feel the same way. I'm ready for the season to start in September when we play Tulane. People are picking us as an underdog but we are going to change a lot of minds."
What do you think about the rankings where you guys are listed low everywhere?
"People like to talk about things they don't know about. They don't really know what we are doing over at Mississippi State. We are working hard everyday. I've got my young guys on the defensive line working hard and helping to get them focused. I'm going to lead them to where they want to go."
Do you feel this team will be better than last year's team?
"Yeah, it is definitely going to be better. Coach Croom has come in and put everybodies minds where they need to be. He gave us an attitude adjustment and made us more discipline. If you aren't about positive things, then he is going to get rid of you. We've lost a couple of players that would have been helpful to the team. We have players put into the right positions now."
Do you think there was enough talent last year to win?
"We had enough talent all three years, but the attitudes weren't in the right place. They were out doing their own individual things. We had talent my freshman and sophomore years, but our record didn't show that we had that talent."
Talk about the other defensive linemen.
"Deljuan (Robinson) came in as a freshman and stepped up. He is working hard during the summer workouts. He has got his weight down. He is going to be a good player. Willie (Evans) is going to be the other defensive end and Corey Clark is going to be the other defensive tackle."
Have you taken Corey Clark under your wing this year?
"I've taken them all under my wing. I know they look up to me because I'm a senior."
What do you think is a weakness on the defense?
"It might be depth, but (S&C) Coach Jim Nowell is getting us in shape so that we can play 60 minutes. Because of that, we won't have to worry too much about depth. Other than that, there shouldn't be any weaknesses."
What has Coach Croom been like so far?
"He is a very good man who sticks to his word. He gives everybody a chance. It doesn't matter if you are a walk-on or on scholarship, if you can play and can help us win, then you are going to play."
Does the excitement of him being the new coach maybe help you guys win a game this year?
"Yeah, just him being there. Him being the first black coach. That is nothing but more publicity for us. And him coming from the level he is coming from (the NFL), the people who want to get to that level will listen to him."
What was your reaction when he he removed Nick Turner from the team?
"I was very disappointed because it didn't have to happen the way it happened. It was sad but we just have to move on with the people that we have. People who want to do it their way and not the Bulldog way will not help us. It will just bring us down."
Do you get a sense that the game in Tuscaloosa against Alabama will mean a lot to Coach Croom?
"I know it will mean a lot to him and he will be very serious about it. But it's always a big game when we play Alabama. It will be even more bigger now."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders.com sports network. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.