Outside The Helmet, Oct 18th

Bully BarkLine, the radio show that is exclusively about Mississippi State athletics that airs every Tuesday night 7-8 at The Little Dooey in Starkville, has a feature called 'Outside The Helmet' which is produced each week by Bully BarkLine insider and guest host Melissa Tomlinson. This past Monday, Melissa and I talked with football players Jasper O'Quinn and Aubrey Bell.

Melissa: What do you two guys do to prepare yourselves for a game during the 30 minutes to an hour leading up to the game?
Aubrey Bell - "Me, personally, I just sit back and think over my assignments to feel comfortable with them. And if I have any questions I go to my coach and ask him. After I pick up all my assignments, I just sit back and listen to music, stay calm and get ready to go out. I don't get aggressive and stuff and use any energy unnecessarily."

Gene: What kind of music do you listen to?
Bell - "I listen to a lot of rap and hip hop just to keep me going, but nothing that would have me jumping all around."

Melissa: What about you Jasper, how do you prepare yourself before a game?
Jasper O'Quinn - "I'm like Bell, I'm just laid back. I'm cool. I listen to music. I go over the plays, the situations. I go over things that I feel they might do. I just think about things like my family, things that keep me positive. I want to make them proud because I know they come to every game."

Melissa: Introduce us to your family.
O'Quinn - "My mom is Kathy O'Quinn and my dad is Ricky O'Quinn, Sr.. My brother, who is at every game, is Ricky O'Quinn, Jr. My little brother is Chris O'Quinn and my sister is Tenesha Washington."

Melissa: Does your family critique you after the game?
O'Quinn - "It's my mom. She is my biggest critic. Like, the fans always tell you what you do good. They don't really tell you what you did bad. But my mom has always been the type that lets me know I could have done this or that better, you should have made that tackle. I just thank her for always humbling me and always bringing me down to earth when everybody else has always brought me up."

Melissa: Aubrey, what about you, any family comes to your games?
Bell - "I have a lot of aunts and uncles who come to the games. My aunt that raised me, sometimes she can't watch because I'm like her little baby. And she doesn't want anything to happen to me. Sometimes she has to get up from the stadium and just walk. She just doesn't want anything to happen to me, but I just tell her it's going to be alright.

"And my older brother comes to the games a lot. He just loves to see me out there. He loves to see me doing something with my life, in school getting an education. He's just happy for me."

Melissa: Jasper, after hearing you talk about your mom, it must have been a pretty easy adjustment for you being coached by Coach Croom?
O'Quinn - "Oh yeah, Coach Croom, a great guy, expects a lot out of us. The thing I like about him is he doesn't sugar coat anything. He tells you what's on his mind, what he feels. He doesn't play games with you. If he wants you to do something, he tells you. I just respect him a lot. And I'm just glad he's given me the opportunity to show everybody what I can do to help the team out anyway that I can."

Gene: Aubrey, it took you a little time to adjust to Coach Croom and the things he expects from his players as not only players but as people. Why did it take you so long?
Bell - "Just coming out of high school, I had in my mind what was going to go on. And when I got to college, it was just a whole different thing. I was coming to college thinking it was nothing but football, football, football. My mindset coming out of high school was football and partying and nothing else. But when I got here Coach Croom wasn't having that. It was his way or no way. He was telling me I was going to have to grow up. We say we are men, so he's going to treat us like men. He wasn't going to sugar coat anything. He was going to tell you straight up how he wants it. And if you don't want to do it his way, then this is not the place for you to be."

Gene: How long did it take you come to his way of thinking?
Bell - "It took me to half my sophomore year."

Melissa: When you guys come out on the field prior to a game do you hear the crowd yelling?
Bell - "When we come out of the tunnel I'm so into it with the team the only thing I hear is everybody (on the team) hollering and getting themselves up. I don't even really hear the crowd. I see them, but I just hear all my teammates around me doing what they do before we run out."

Melissa: Jasper, Saturday, what did the crowd do for you, because that place was absolutely rocking? What does that electricity do for you?
O'Quinn - "I'm the type of player that feeds off of a crowd. I love a crowd. I love when it's a packed house. That's when players step up and make plays. So, I just love big crowds ... I love them."

Gene: Describe Aubrey as a player.
O'Quinn - "Basically, Bell is a playmaker. He makes the plays every week. He's big, physical and a hard matchup for most corners. Most DBs are 5-11, 5-10 and he's 6-2, 6-3, so he's a hard matchup for a lot of corners."

Gene: Describe Jasper as a player.
Bell - "He's physical and fast. In the game this past weekend, he came in and made three straight plays, three and out. He's quick and has good hands. And he can come up and be physical. He can play off you or come up and press. He can do it all at corner."

Gene: How has Jasper helped you a player?
Bell - "In one on ones I know I'm going to have to do everything right. If I come out of my break wrong I know he's going to jump on it, either pick it off or knock it down. So, I have to stay low and get all my steps right, I just have to be perfect. Not being perfect against a good player like O'Quinn, you aren't going to get anything out of it."

Gene: How has Aubrey helped you as a player?
O'Quinn - "Being as physical as he is, he has helped me a lot with my press technique. You don't find as many receivers as big and strong as he is. So, he has helped me a lot making me work on my technique. Like he said, he tries to do everything right. He tries to be perfect like Coach Croom said, Aubrey Bell always tries to be perfect. Like his turnbacks, you can't read his routes, so he helped me with that. You have to watch everything about him, his hips, everything."

Melissa: Aubrey, tell me what is the difference between this year's team and last year's team?
Bell - "We are just much more of a team, not just on the field but off the field. We get together all the time and do things together, barbeque and just hang out, go to parties together. Then, when we are on the field, it's like we are brothers. When you are on the field, you aren't going to let anybody hurt your brother. So, if you have to make this block so that they won't get to him, then I'm going to make it no matter what. I'm not going to be the one to let my teammates down."

O'Quinn - "It's a brotherhood. We love each other. I feel that love makes us go out and fight each and every Saturday that we play. We are going to fight until the end because we feel like we are all brothers out there."

Gene: Did you guys hear the boos that Mike Henig received when he came into the game against Tennessee? And what are your thoughts about fans booing college athletes?
O'Quinn - "A lot of people said they heard it. I don't like that at all. I know I always tell Mike that, "I believe in you Mike, I love you.' Fans have to realize that we are only human, most of us are only 20, 21. We try our best. We aren't going out there to make mistakes. We don't play for just ourselves. We play for the fans, too. We really appreciate them, we just ask that they appreciate us, too."

Gene: Aubrey, how did the boos make you feel?
Bell - "I really didn't hear it. When Mike came in the game I was on the field so I really didn't hear it. But I heard about it. And I was like, why would they do him like that, all the things he's done for the team, the way he has sacrificed? And for him to come out and they do him like that, that really hurt me to see our fans do him like that. I really didn't like it, but like O'Q said, we keep Mike up everyday. We believe in Mike and believe we are still going to win the game if Mike comes in the game for Wes."

Gene: You two guys are veterans. Now, you are being led by a true freshman quarterback. What are your thoughts about that?
Bell - "If you are a leader, you are a leader. If you are a natural born leader, people are going to follow you no matter who you are. And Wes is a leader. To come in and learn everything about the offense that quick, he is a leader. We accept him without question."

O'Quinn - "Wes is so cool, calm and collected. I think that's what helps him out. Wes is a leader. He didn't ask to be the leader. He came in and led by example. That's why we follow. I don't care how old he is or young. He didn't come in and try to force himself as a leader. A leader is someone who doesn't do that. He led by example. Everybody else said he was a leader."

Gene: So, it doesn't matter that he is a true freshman?
O'Quinn - "Oh no, not at all. On this team, we don't care who gets the glory. We just want to win...."

Bell - "....it's all about the W at the end."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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