What are your expectations for the upcoming season?
"In Starkville, we are looking forward to having a great season. I can't tell you how many we will win and lose, but I can tell you that we will go out and give 110% and give it all that we have."
Did you not do that last year?
"Sometimes I feel like we did. And sometimes I feel like we didn't. I don't think we were as close as we are now as a team. At times, I think we still had some bad attitudes on the team. We had guys that were pretty much individuals. This year, there has been a lot of changes."
Did Coach (Croom) kind of clean house so that he could get things the way he wanted?
"Coach Croom didn't run anybody off. Guys ran themselves off because they didn't do what he wanted them to do. They had a chance to do the right thing, but they chose to do what they wanted to do. That's why they were dismissed from the team."
What has Coach Croom brought to the team?
"He has brought discipline. He made us believe in ourselves. He's also brought a bond to the team, a family atmosphere. I feel the team has gotten a lot closer because of what he is doing. Not only does he talk to us about things that go on on the football field, but what goes on off the field, also - things like doing your classwork. Even if we don't have a career in football, he wants us to be successful in life; just being a man and handling your business the way you are supposed to. At this time in my life, I couldn't be in a better place. I love him to death."
What do you mean by family atmosphere?
"Coach Croom came in and told us the truth. When someone comes in and tells you the truth, you love them and trust them. That causes a bond with the team."
Talk about last year's loss to Maine.
"We weren't focused for that game. That is a game that we should have won. We really didn't believe in ourselves and were kind of going along with whatever happened. This year, it's going to be a different story because we will be focused."
What would you like to happen this year?
"I would love to go to a bowl. Not only me, but I think all my teammates would love to go. Other than that, I am looking forward to having a great rushing season and leading the SEC in rushing."
How realistic is that your team can beat the LSU's, the Georgia's this year?
"It's realistic. We put our pants on the same way they put theirs on. Because they have the big name doesn't mean they are any better than us. Anything is possible."
How realistic is it that MSU will go to a bowl game?
"I think it is very realistic. We just have to go out and practice hard everyday, stay focused and believe in each other and believe in what Coach Croom is telling us."
Is redshirt freshman Brandon Thornton a good backup for you?
"Oh, yes sir, Brandon Thornton is a great back. He goes out and works hard everyday and pushes me. We really push each other. I hope that I don't get hurt, but if I do, I know he can step in and fill my shoes. We don't just have him, but we have some other good guys who are ready to step up and get into the rotation."
Talk about the offensive line.
"They are working very hard this summer and have lost a lot of weight. They are looking fast and quick. I know a lot of people might say that our offensive line is suspect, but I'm not worried about them."
Do you feel the MSU coaching staff addressed the wide receiver position in this last recruiting class with the guys that they signed?
"I really can't tell you right now. When we put the pads on and start hitting, that's when you can really tell what you have. The freshmen are working hard, though. Adron Chambers is a freshman receiver from Florida. He's working very hard. He's running with me, so I know he's going to be alright."
Do you feel starting quarterback Omarr Conner is more confident and comfortable running the offense this year?
"Yes sir, he is very confident. I feel he is going to do some big things this coming season."
What is your impression of the newcomers, especially guys like Quinton Wesley and Tray Rutland
"Quinton is in great shape. I didn't think a freshman would come in in that good of shape. Tray is looking real good, too. Pretty much all the freshmen are working hard. Adron Chambers works with me everyday, so I know how hard he works."
Do you wish that the Egg Bowl was still on Thanksgiving night?
"Yes sir, I kind of do because that is a big tradition in the state of Mississippi."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.