"As far as the spring is concerned, I came in looking to get my feet better. The SEC is one of the fastest conferences in the nation. The SEC receivers are very strong so I also worked on getting stronger. My first year here I didn't know what to expect. Plus, I wanted to get better as far as trusting our coaches and the defense we run."
You mentioned coaches. You have a new coach this season, Curley Hallman. Did coach Hallman go back to the style of play you were used to?
"Yes sir. He did. That made it a whole lot easier. All through juco we had our success back-pedaling. When we came up here, we tried a different style. I was getting used to it, but back-pedaling works for me the best. It is more natural. I can come out of my breaks quicker. I can read the routes better as far as looking at the quarterback and reading the receiver."
You mentioned your spring objectives earlier. Do you feel you achieved your objectives?
"Yes sir, I feel like I did. My coaches as well as myself see me as trusting my feet now. I wasn't worried about coming out of my break. I just did it and quit thinking about it."
You talk about trusting your feet. You are one of the fastest players in college football.
"It is not about being quicker. It is keeping your quickness when you come out of your break. There are some people who have great quickness, but they don't trust their feet enough to come out of their break full speed. That is what the coaches wanted me to do, trust my feet. They know I have the athletic ability. It is just going out there and trusting yourself."
Talk a little about what you were trying to do during the first part of the summer.
"We were just trying to come in and become more of a team. Last year, a lot of us didn't know each other. This summer we are looking to become a unit. We know we have the ability. We just want to get out there and do what we have to do, but do it as a team."
Do you see more unity and cohesiveness this summer?
"A whole lot. A whole lot. Last year, there would be people who I was sitting in the locker room with and I didn't even know their name. Now, we are more of a unit. We get along with each other and talk with each other. We didn't have that last year. We didn't have that team unity that a lot of successful teams had."
I've noticed that a lot of this year's newcomers have already come in for the summer. That has to help this year's team.
"Yes sir. There are a lot of them that we have high expectations for, especially on defense. We are looking for depth, a lot of depth. We have the skill level on defense, but we need the depth behind us. We are hoping that their maturity level is good enough where they can play a role that is beneficial to the team."
What are your expectations for this team?
"As a team, we all hope to get to the SEC Championship game. First, we will look to Oregon. If we can establish ourselves against Oregon, then we know we can play with any other team on our schedule. We want to be SEC Champs, but we are looking toward Oregon right now."
Individually, what are your goals this season?
"I want to not give up any touchdowns and get more interceptions, cause more turnovers. I want to do whatever they need me to do. I feel like I will be contributing more this year because I was trying to find myself last year. I know where my place is this year."
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.