One on One With Derek Pegues

Mississippi State senior safety Derek Pegues talks one on one with Gene's Page.

How did it make you feel personally when you saw the problems with the punt returns in the first game?
"Oh man, I felt bad. I felt like if I had been out there I would have probably fielded those punts and the kickoff returns. And I feel like we would have had a better chance to win the game at the end. I really felt real bad about it, but like Coach Croom told me, 'put it in the past and move on.' So, I've gotten past that and I'm trying to contribute to the team any way that I can right now."

Did you apologize to the team the Sunday after the game?
"Oh yeah, I apologized to them."

Why did you feel you had to do that?
"Because I felt like it was my fault. I felt like it was my fault that we lost. If I had been out there I feel like things would have gone differently. I felt like I owed it to them."

How did they react to your apology?
"Oh man, they told me don't worry about it. They said we are going to put this one behind us and move on. And that's really what we are trying to do right now."

What was it like to go through the Dogwalk and play again?
"It was good. I felt really good. I was a little too amped up before the game and had to calm myself down some."

You are usually pretty calm before a game aren't you?
"(Laugh) Yeah, I am. But it felt great to walk through (the Dogwalk). And it was real good to kick off my senior year."

What was it like to field the first punt after seeing what happened in the Louisiana Tech game?
"(Laugh) It was racing through my head that I have to catch this ball no matter what. Once I caught it I felt pretty good. I needed to get that first punt return of the year."

State was expected to beat Southeastern Louisiana big and you did it. How much did that helped the team's confidence?
"It helped our confidence a lot. We had prepared well during the week and came out and executed. A lot of young guys got to play. And I think that will help us throughout the rest of the season."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by email at

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