"The number one objective was learning the checks, learning the offense a little bit better. Basically, I wanted to learn how to play my position more fluidly within the team concept. I also wanted to improve my pad level and take good steps. I think I accomplished my goals during the spring. I was able to get a lot of reps and improve my technique. I feel pretty good about my spring."
What were you doing during the first part of the summer?
"While I was back home, I was trying to work on my leg drive and exploding off the football. I was also trying to work on my balance and working on sustaining blocks after I made contact."
Did you work out everyday?
"Yeah, we worked out everyday. Coach Grant gave me a manual and I used that everyday. Besides that, I worked on some drills to build up my leg strength. I pulled some tires in the sand."
I'm curious, how much did you weigh last season?
"I weighed about 325 to 330."
What do you weigh now?
"I dropped down to 315, but I've added some strength, some muscle, while dropping some body fat."
Are you going to try and stay in the 315 range?
"I am going to try and stay in between 310 and 320."
Is that the best weight for you?
"Yes sir. That is what I feel best at."
What are you trying to accomplish during the second summer session?
"Obviously, number one is getting my cardiovascular system ready. Plus, I'm trying to get adjusted to the heat. I'm also trying to work on exploding from my chest, doing some extra close-grip work so that I will be able to shock people when I came off the ball."
I guess the second session workouts are also when you get yourself prepared for two-a-days?
"Yeah, we have less than a week after this term is over before two-a-days start. This is basically the preparation for two-a-days."
What are your team goals for this coming season?
"The number one team goal is for us to win. It is too much hard work to go through what we went through last season."
What are your individual goals for the coming season?
"For myself, I would like to start and compete."
You mentioned how difficult last season was after working so hard. The fans were very frustrated with last season. How difficult and frustrating was it to be a player having to go through a season like that?
"I think it is more frustrating for us than anybody because we are the ones out there sweating and bleeding. We, along with the coaches, are investing in it everyday. It is very frustrating, especially when you know that you have prepared yourself. It wasn't like we were just playing around; we were preparing to win."
Does having such a bad season give you a little extra incentive for the next season?
"I think so. We came in expecting great things. I learned you don't take anything for granted. There is no guarantee that you will be in a bowl. I really think the team is developing a different mentality. We are going to be more of the hunter and not the hunted. I think it is always better that way."
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.