You didn't play in the first game of the season. Did you expect to play going into the Tulane game?
"I knew I might get a good chance to play when I saw that I was practicing more with the twos. And on the official depth chart that they have in the locker room I saw my name in second behind J.D. Hamilton. So, I knew there was probably a good chance I would get to play Saturday against Tulane."
Did anyone actually tell you that you would play?
They didn't really say that exactly, but they were making sure that I was more physically demanding and that I had all my techniques right. And making sure that I was ready for gametime situations."
What were your thoughts about playing in your first game?
"(Laugh) A lot of thoughts were racing through my mind, but most of all I was excited to get that chance to go out there and hitting the real gridiron against different teams."
Were you able to sleep Friday night?
"(Laugh) I tried to get a good night's sleep, but going through my mind the whole night was my getting the chance to go out there and play with my fellow teammates against Tulane and get the first W of the season."
When did you first go into the game?
"I first went in in the second quarter. J.D. needed a breather so Coach Grimes looked at me and told me to go in there for J.D. in the next drive. After that I started preparing myself." (Derek wound up playing 33 snaps in the game.-Editor)
How did you personally do during that first drive?
"I did really well. Looking at the video today, I saw that I didn't make too many mistakes the whole drive. I was just making sure that I didn't make any mistakes and help my team as much as possible."
Talk about the play where Anthony Dixon scored running to your side of the line.
"The play required that I block down because there was a man in my gap. So, I stepped down and blocked my man. My brother (Dezmond) came in and filled in beside me and blocked the Will linebacker, so we just kind of drove them back and Anthony Dixon was able to bust through and run for the touchdown."
Are you happy that you are getting to play this year and not redshirting?
"To me, either way, redshirting or not redshirting, there were benefits to them. But I'm happy the coaches think I am good enough at this certain point of time to help my teammates out. I was excited to get in the game because most of all I wanted to do something well so I could call my sister and brother, who are in the army in Iraq and Germany, about it."
What was the most difficult thing you dealt with while in the game?
"Probably the most difficult thing was the atmosphere. Going out here in practice is one thing, but going out there in the Superdome in front of all those Tulane and Mississippi State fans with all their eyes on us, we had to step up."