TG: I had said I was going to stay in the state of Mississippi. It really came down to Southern Miss and Mississippi State. I wanted to get out of Hattiesburg.
SR: So you end up playing as a true freshman. The Auburn game was sort of a coming out party. You dropped a key third down pass that ended a possible scoring drive and then redeemed yourself with a long catch and run to set up the game winning score.
TG: The drop really had me down on myself. I felt like I had let the team down. I was just hoping and praying that I got another chance to make up for the mistake that I had made. I think we ran the same play when I made the catch. I won't say I was scared, but I had a lot of butterflies. I used to have those butterflies, but once the game got started I was fine.
SR: After you made that catch and run to help the team win, did you feel like now you were accepted on the team as someone they could count on?
TG: I felt like I had finally started doing what I thought I could do the whole time.
SR: The 1999 year was a great year. Did you all have any idea early on that it was going to be a special year?
TG: The whole summer we weren't picked very high. We weren't supposed to be very good. People weren't expecting us to do too much of nothing. The whole time we were saying that we want to play for a championship. That was our goal the whole summer. We kind of kept that among the players. They didn't have us rated high, but among ourselves we knew the type of year we were going to have. We knew we were going to have the chance to compete for a championship. To be honest, the season was kind of a failure to us because we felt like we lost two games that we should have won, Alabama and Arkansas.
SR: You start out 8-0 and you head into Alabama with the SEC west title up for grabs. How was the week leading up to the game?
TG: That was the biggest game of my life really. We were like, we win this game we win the west. That's how we all looked at it.
SR: Of course we came out on the wrong end of that one and had to go to Arkansas.
TG: That game was different. We weren't like, "We have to win this game." Pretty much our season was over. A lot of guys felt that way and it had a lot to do with us losing that game. It was like a hangover. We lost the week before and then we had some calls go against us.
SR: Let me guess, the ineligible man down field on the Kelvin Love touchdown catch and the clip in the Fred Smoot interception return.
TG: Yeah, that's right. That killed us. We felt like those were the plays that lost the game. Stuff happens. We get back and see the tape and there wasn't really a clip and we didn't have a man down field either. Those were questionable calls.
SR: Well, you bounce back win the Egg Bowl and then the Peach Bowl. The season ended with some great momentum. What were your expectations for the 2000 season?
TG: We felt like we were going to get better. We had started something. We thought we should be 11-1 or 12-0. That was our mindset.
SR: We had some things go wrong for us early, like the South Carolina game.
TG: We gave up a 4th and 25 and dropped a punt late in the 4th quarter inside the 10 yard line. We would have been able to run the clock out, but instead they end up scoring a touchdown on that drive. South Carolina was a game that we should have won. We kind of felt like that game was won before we got there.
SR: The next week you got Florida at home. After all of the doubters in 1999, I know several of the players have said they looked forward to the Florida game as a chance to earn some respect.
TG: After we lost to South Carolina, Florida was like a must win. If we lose to Florida the season is over.
SR: Well, you put a nice run together and get back into the running for the west. You all controlled your own destiny and then you played Arkansas in the slop.
TG: That Arkansas game was something else. If we had won that game we would have won the west. I think we lost to them on a 4th and one or something like that.
SR: Then you go out the next week and lose one to Ole Miss.
TG: That was another hangover week. We lost that game because we lost to Arkansas. Once we couldn't win the west the season was pretty much over. Our goal all season was to win the west and get to Atlanta. Once we couldn't do that it was pretty much over.
SR: After winning the Independence Bowl you all came into 2001 rated in the top ten by some publications, but things started to go south pretty early. What happened?
TG: We lost like five games by a combined eighteen points. I think we missed three field goals against South Carolina and lost by two points. Most every game was within a field goal. Auburn and South Carolina we missed field goals in both of those games. It could have gone either way. I believe if we had (Scott) Westerfield that year we probably go 9-2 or so.
SR: What do you remember the most fondly about your time at MSU?
TG: Personally, I had big games against Auburn my freshman year, the LSU game in 2000 and Kentucky when I was a senior. I just loved playing SEC football. I enjoyed every bit of that. It was fun. It was a great experience for me. I enjoyed every minute of it.
SR: So what are you up to these days?
TG: I am working with Coach Davis at Co-Lin. I coach the receivers. I would love to stay in coaching. Hopefully, I can coach in the SEC one day.
Only three Mississippi State players caught more passes than Terrell Grindle did in his collegiate career. Grindle is 7th All-Time in receiving yards and was a key component in two of the greatest seasons in Bulldog football history.
Steve Robertson is a staff member of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.