"I wanted to establish myself as a better blocker. I think that was the most important thing as for as my role is for the team. I also wanted to make sure I fine-tuned all my skills as far as footwork and catching the ball. I think I accomplished those goals, but it is an entirely different ballgame coming into the summer."
Talk about your position on the team?
"As far as game experience, I have a lot of that. Donald Lee is obviously one of the top tight ends in the country. As far as my role, I consider myself a starter. I have been doing this for three years (includes a redshirt freshman year). I think I am like a starter out there. I am very knowledgeable of our offense."
Since you have been at State for three years now, you pretty much have everything down and really don't have to think about what you are doing on the field?
"Yeah, it is a natural thing now and it makes it a lot easier to play. Once they learn the system, the younger guys we have will develop more of their talents because they won't have as much to think about. The less you have to think about what you are doing, the better you are going to play."
You were here the first summer session. You didn't even get a chance to go home did you?
"That is ok. They know back home (in Ohio) that I'm trying to get through with school first and get ready for the football season. They understand why I'm down here working out. I'll get the chance to go home during the 4th (of July holidays). That will be a good little break. We have to get ready for a rough season. And as disappointing as last year was, we are going to try and avoid that at all costs. I felt like I needed to be here for that and for my academics."
From what I hear, you are a pretty good student. When are you going to graduate, Aaron?
"I'm going to finish in December."
You are kidding me. Won't you just be a (redshirt) junior this season?
What are you majoring in?
You will have finished in three and a half years. You ought to be very proud of that.
"Yeah. Mississippi State provides you a lot of opportunities to do your school work. Everybody talks about what we do athletically, but coach Sherrill and his staff provide you plenty of opportunities to get your classwork done so you can get your degree. I took full advantage of those opportunities. I owe a lot of that to them, because they don't have to pay for us to come to summer school. I was able to do that while I was here. Because of that, I am getting to graduate this coming December."
How many hours are you taking this fall?
"This fall, I'm taking 15. Last spring, I took 20."
That is very impressive, Aaron.
Well, I got off on a tangent. Back to the subject at hand. What do you want to accomplish this summer?
"I'm trying to get as ready for the season as possible. I want to feel like if we had to come out of July having to play Oregon on August 4th, we would be ready to play them. I feel like I will accomplish that. I am going to be ready to go when August 31st comes around. And I feel everybody else will be as well."
What do you want to accomplish individually and team-wise this season?
"Individually, I want to add to our offense. I have been doing a lot of things as far as blocking is concerned. I want to add a new weapon to our offense. I think if I work hard on my feet and catching the ball, I think I can do that. The more people you have that can make plays, the better your team is going to be.
"As a team, I think we have to come together. I think we are making great strides coming together as a team. Once that happens, I think we will be right back to where we were before we took that bad step last year."
What do you think happened last season?
"I think it was a different mix of people. Sometimes different mixes of people don't get together as well as you think they should. I think we are over that. I think we now understand each other and are jelling. I think that will be very dangerous when the season comes around."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.