John Hevesy "They were alright. We are still working on their techniques and fundamentals. And before that comes, we are working on playing with passion. The intensity level is the first thing we have to get, then we move on."
Based on what I saw in the practices this week, the intensity of the coaches is pretty strong as well.
"You have to be. How you go is how the kids are going to play. If you are a dullard, they are going to be dullards. It's about the passion of the game. You play the game with passion. You coach it with passion. The kids are a reflection of you. And they need that from us right now. We need to be the leaders right now. And we need to find the leaders. To get those leaders, we need to show them how to do it."
Who are some guys on the offensive line who look like they have the potential to be those leaders?
"All five (of the starters) have the potential. From Derek to Addison to J.C. to Tobias to Quentin, my first five all have a shot at it."
Are they different in how they express that leadership, maybe a few do it verbally and others by their actions and even one or two of them both ways?
"Sure, they are different due to their personalities. If you don't lead vocally, then there are other ways to lead. If he's not a vocal guy, then let me see it on film. What kind of effort you put into practice and how coachable you are in practice determines how well other kids will follow you."
Go across the first unit and tell me what you like about each player. We'll start with the left tackle, Derek Sherrod.
"I like Derek's size, arm length and athletic ability. Really, I could say that about all five of them. The reason they are where they are is due to their athletic ability, first and foremost. And their toughness and work ethics. The way they went through the offseason conditioning, athletic ability and effort. You put an investment into it and I'll give you your return."
What are your thoughts about Quentin Saulsberry?
"He has the physical tools. Now it's a matter of adding the mental aspects, the techniques and the fundamental aspects of the game into that body. Once that all comes he has an opportunity to be a great player."
What about Addison Lawrence?
"The same thing. He has great athletic ability. He just needs to learn the mental aspects and the techniques."
In the past, it has been rare to see the offense win out over the defense in practice scrimmages, but the offense did that Saturday.
"They came in with some energy, with some passion. And we wanted to teach them how to celebrate when they got into the endzone. It's hard to do in this league and it's hard to do that in football. When you get into the endzone act like you have been there before."
What are some things you have seen from this team that has impressed you?
"They are trying to learn and are accepting what we are trying to do from the offseason program to the new offense that we are installing. There has been no fighting about what we are trying to do. They want to learn and want to embrace what we are doing because what they have seen (from us) in the past at different programs works. If it works somewhere elsewhere, then let's absorb it and hopefully it will work for us."
You came from a very successful program at Florida to a program that will take a tremendous amount of effort to have a chance to achieve that kind of success. Why do that? Was it the challenge?
"That's part of it. There are a lot of parts. When I went to Brown University they hadn't won the Ivy League championship in 29 years. We won an Ivy League championship. Then, we went to Bowling Green. They had three seasons of 2 and 9. So, it was a challenge. We came back with 8 and 3 and 9 and 3. We came to Utah where they were 5 and 5 and they were up and down. And we were successful there. We came to Florida where they were a little bit down. All were great places. Just as Mississippi State is a great place.
"And Danny and I are good friends. And It was the opportunity to work with him."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.