What is the best way to go about beating Kentucky?
"That is the purpose of watching film; to see how people are successful against them and how that might fit into our gameplan."
Where do you see weaknesses in their game?
"Watching the Georgia game, they have a lot of playmakers who can go up and get the ball. We have receivers that are playmakers. I think that will be a key for us."
After the last two games, do you feel you are building some momentum to help carry you through the rest of the year?
"I believe the team is building some momentum. Everyone is starting to enjoy playing with each other more. We have always enjoyed each other, but winning makes it even more fun."
Talk about how much the offensive line has improved over the past few weeks.
"We have been playing better as a group. We have been communicating a little better with each other. That has helped us put together complete games."
Do you feel more comfortable with your play now that you have started several games?
"Yeah, I think I feel more comfortable, but there is always so much stuff that we need to work on that we would never be through."
How much has working against the 1st and 2nd unit defenses in practice the past few weeks helped the offensive line?
"That is tough. But it helps you get ready for game speed because those guys move around like an SEC defense does."
Has Coach Sherrill gotten a little more vocal and tougher in practice the past few weeks?
"I don't know about tougher, but he is definitely pointing out things that we can do to improve. I think that has made us better."
What adjustments did you have to make when you started playing football again?
"Coming in I knew I would have to make a little transition in my conditioning. I was also a long strider in basketball because you don't work much on being a short strider. That was a big adjustment for me. I still have problems with that when I am back peddling. Instead of taking a short step, I sometimes take a long step."
Where does basketball and football converge?
"Playing defense. Guarding a man one on one helps me with form tackling; breaking down getting ready to tackle whoever has the ball."
Did you expect that you would wind up starting?
"When I came out in the spring and I hadn't played in four or five years and I was tackling good and doing everything so well, I thought about it then. I thought maybe late in the season I could play as a starter. I knew if I kept on learning and kept getting better, I had a great chance to start."
Do you feel like you have a professional career ahead of you?
"Definitely. I'm going to try to give football a shot. I talked to Coach Stans about a week ago. He asked me what I was going to do. I told him definitely, definitely football because I have gotten more publicity in football than I did in four years of basketball. It has been great for me playing football."
Do you have any regrets that you went with basketball instead of football in college?
"I definitely don't regret it. I wouldn't take anyting back. I do wish that I had at least another year of experience in football because I'm doing things really off of talent alone. I wish I had a year to get my skill level where it needs to be."
I'm curious about something. How in the world does a guy that a veteran coach like Jackie Sherrill says would be an All-American in college football and a high draft pick in the NFL draft not get heavily recruiting coming out of high school? Was it because of academics or something else?
"I was heavily recruited but a lot of people just stopped because of my academics. I didn't have the grades. I didn't even know if I was going to college."
How much did loyalty play into your decision?
"That is one reason that I signed with basketball. Coach Stans told me that if I sat out a year and go to school part-time, there was no doubt in his mind that he would come back and sign me. He recruited me the entire time even though I didn't have the grades. He told me that they would pick me up the following year if I sat out a year. I took his word and his word was his bond."
Do you wish that you had played football the same time that you were playing basketball?
"Coach Stans, when he recruited me, made it known that he wanted me strictly for basketball. I agreed with him. He stuck beside me the whole time and I wasn't going to let him down. After I sat out a year and got eligible I could have gone to football but I gave him my word and my word is my bond."
Have you talked to any football players, former or current, about your chances for a future in pro football?
"I talked to Ashley Cooper and Robert Bean even before I came out for football. They said scouts will love you. They weren't the only ones. Two of the coaches came to and told me that the scouts will love me because I am tall and strong."
Have you gained any weight since you came out for football?
"I was 195 in basketball but I am now 205. I got all the way up to 216, but I'm back down to 205 now." (Michael, who will be 25 in January, is 6-4.5 tall without shoes on.-Gene)
What is your daughter's name?
"Mykesia. She will be six the 23rd of next month."
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.