"I think we are going to have a faster defense than we had. Because we aren't that big, we are going to have to be quicker. I feel like our attitude is a lot better. Even with that, we still have a ways to go to get better. I'm sure Coach Dunn will have us ready by gametime."
We are familiar with the veterans. What are your impressions of the young guys?
"The freshman class is very strong. They are going to help us a lot this year. And we are going to need them a lot this year. They got a lot of reps in the second scrimmage, probably more than the veterans. I think that our coaches are looking for them to step up and play in the two-deep or three-deep."
You've faced the MSU offense in two scrimmages. What are your impressions of it?
"You can tell that Coach Woods is trying to put more competitiveness in them and it is working. They didn't do good the first scrimmage, but they came back in the second one like competitors, just like they are supposed to.
"I also think (quarterback) Kevin Fant has been doing a good job of leading by example. The seniors, Cokie (Justin Griffith) and Donald Lee, are showing them how to do it. It is a big deal having those guys over there."
A couple of newcomers on the offense are running backs Jerious Norwood and Nick Turner. What are your impressions of them?
"The thing about Nick is he is one of those players you have to break down on because he is so quick. But, as soon as you break down on him, he can also run over you."
Are you saying he has power running the ball?
"Exactly, you can't just break down on him because he is not only quick but he can run over you.
"Jerious is smooth.
"Those two guys are going to be really good, really good."
Do you feel good about this team?
"I do just because it is already more fun than it was last year. We are a lot closer and are friends and we care a lot about each other. The want-to-do-good is there a lot more than last year."
Last year, there were so many juco players that came in during two-a-days. They didn't know the rest of the team and you guys didn't know them. Now, they've got a year's worth of experience under their belt and everybody knows each other. That must help this team as well?
"Last year, the jucos were kind of stuck over there by themselves. They were over there and we were over here. We really didn't blend real well. With them being here last year, that has been a big plus for this team."
How does it feel to have your younger brother, Brett, playing on the same team with you again?
"It is good. He is doing a good job. It is fun sitting in the meeting room with him and coming home with him. Then, we also have (MSU graduate assistant coach) Rob with us. It is awesome. It is a blessing."
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.