"The main thing was trying to get better as a team and individually. 3 and 8 is not going to cut it, so everybody has to get better. Never again."
What were some individual things you tried to improve during the spring?
"Blocking is the key, especially at the tight end position. The tight end gives that extra blocker at the line of scrimmage. If we can get our blocking down, then we can go along way."
I thought your blocking was one of your strong points?
"My blocking is ok, but you can always improve. I just want to get better. Blocking is the most important thing for a tight end here."
What are you trying to accomplish during the summer?
"I'm trying to get bigger, stronger and faster."
Why do you think this team will be better this season?
"First of all we have come together as a team. That is going to be huge. If we can finish this year - last year we couldn't finish and 3 and 8 happened - then we will have a very good team."
You are going into your 4th year here. Is the talent level of this team as good as the better teams you have seen here?
"This team is extremely talented. It is just a matter of using it. That is what it comes down to. If we can use that talent and finish games, then we will have a very good season."
Several of the players have talked about last year's team not having leadership and how this year quite a few of the seniors are stepping forward as leaders. Are you seeing that same thing?
"A lot of them are stepping forward because they don't want to have another 3 and 8 season. Even some of the juniors are trying to step forward and help. You can never go bad with a lot of leaders."
What do you hope for individually?
"Probably play more tight end. You can only do what they ask you to do. Whatever they ask me to do, I will do it. If it is to go out there and play special teams and hit people, then that is what I will do."
Last season, a lot of the new guys didn't come in until two-a-days and really didn't get to know the other guys. Do you think that hurt last year's team?
"I think that was a huge problem. Not only did they miss the summer conditioning, but the spring workouts as well, the early morning workouts in February. If you don't do that, then you don't know what it takes to play on Saturday. With the people being here for the spring for the February workouts, they learn what it takes to play on Saturday and I think that makes them a lot better."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.