First, how has the summer been going?
"It has been good. Kind of hectic. I've been doing a lot of training trying to get ready to go up to Mississippi State. I've been working and I spent a week in Cancun. I get up around 7 and I go to bed around 11:00."
Wow. How much of that day is spent working out and training?
"Probably three or four hours a day."
The last we heard from you, you were working out with a personal trainer. Is that still the case?
"I've stopped working out with the personal trainer now. I've gotten pretty much all I could out of him. He taught me all I needed to know from him. But now I'm working with a speed trainer out of Jackson named Mike Friscone. We've been working out together and he has been working on my speed and trying to get it to where I can go in and be adjusted to that level."
Has the speed training worked?
"Yeah, it works a lot. Basically, it's the same thing that State does with Coach Grant. He does the ladder work and the power balls and all that. As far as the level of intensity, I can't really judge that yet. Coach Grant is on another level, you know. But as far as the workout goes, its about the same."
Have you been timed?
"No sir. I don't necessarily put a lot into times because I've learned playing football that your 40 yard dash time might be a 4.38 and it won't help you hunt anybody down on the field if you don't have game speed. As long as you have on-field speed, it's good. But I can feel that I'm faster. My mechanics are a lot better."
What about your weight? Where is that now?
"I'm about 305."
Is that where you want to be?
"No. I need to lose about 10 -15 lbs."
There have been reports that you might get a shot at playing 2nd string on the D-line this year. Is there any truth to that?
"Well, I went up there about two weeks ago to get my schedule worked out with Mrs. Carr, and I went over to speak to Coach Sherrill and Coach Hendrick. They mentioned that with Dannie Snyder being out it was going to open up the door for me. Coach Sherrill just said that, whether I was ready or not, he was going to put me in the fire. But yeah, it's probably going to be anywhere from 2nd to 3rd string because I'll probably get worked in at nose guard anyway."
I see. That must get you excited.
"Yeah, but I was excited anyway. You are going in and you are already playing behind a freshman all-SEC lineman like Ronald Fields. You know that he is going to work his butt off and I'm going to work my butt off trying to push him. So that is exciting in itself. Just going in and playing for an SEC school of Mississippi State's caliber - that was good enough for me to have some enthusiasm right there."
What kind of season do you think MSU is going to have this year?
"Its going to be totally different from last year, I can tell you that. People still speculate that we might not be as good as we can be or as we used to be but, I mean, I know I leave Sunday along with Richard Burch, and maybe Odell Bradley and Willie Evans - and I know that one thing will be different; we are going to work hard together during the summer and we're going to be one big family and we're going to get stronger and football smart. We had the talent last year, but just made some mistakes here and there. But this year it's going to go to a whole different level."
Do you think State can beat Oregon?
"Yes sir. Because up there on the Pacific Coast, their brand of football is more of a passing type, you know, the west coast type of offense and they're not used to the smash mouth football like we play in the South. With our physicalness up front, if we just go out there and be hard nosed like we have been all our lives here in the South, I don't think they can stay with us. But it's going to be a great game."
One more thing. You are going to be in Mississippi high school all-star game, right?
"Yeah. On July 19th at Madison Central."
Are you looking forward to that?
"Yeah, I'm looking forward to it, but I was pretty upset about not getting selected to the Miss/Ala. all-star game, so I've got a lot to prove and I have a chip on my shoulder for that game. At the same time, I want to go out and have fun. But I do have some extra enthusiasm behind me for that game."
Yeah. I felt that you should have made that team. (MS/Ala.)
"A lot of people did, but they don't always see the best players. I understand that. Plus I liked watching the players that did make it because they deserved to be there just as much as I did. So I don't take anything away from them."
Well, you have a great attitude and I think everyone on Gene's Page has been able to see that. We wish you the best this year and during your career. We look forward to watching you play.
"Thank you very much."
Brent Bozeman is a correspondent for Gene's Page. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .