MSU LB K.J. Wright at SEC Media Day

Mississippi State junior linebacker K.J. Wright does a one-on-one interview with Gene's Page at the SEC Media Day.

How big were you when you first got to Mississippi State and how big are you now?
"I was 210 when I first got to Mississippi State and I'm 245 pounds now."

Is the Carl Torbush defense different than what you ran last season? If so, how?
"The defense is basically the same - just line up, run to the football and hit hard. I like his scheme but it's basically what we have run in the past."

What do you think will be some of the strengths of the defense this year?
"I would say all eleven people, but especially the linebackers because we have a lot of experience at that position. And I think we (linebackers) will lead the defense the right way."

I know you believe this team will be better. Give me specifics why you believe that.
"We work to win. And based on what I saw in the spring with our new offense and knowing that our defense is going to be good, we are going to be good."

You say the offense will be better. Specifically, what are some things that they did that lead you to believe that?
"From my viewpoint they were hard to stop. They have some routes that I have never seen before. And we have some good, skilled athletes."

How tough have the workouts been this summer?
"They've been real tough. (MSU strength) Coach (Matt) Balis has us working real hard at everything we do. And I believe all that hard work will pay off for us."

Are you trying to be one of the team leaders during the workouts?
"Yes sir, a vocal leader who leads by example. Every time you go in the weight room, you have to go hard and get better."

The Friday workouts have names. Describe how they are different than the other workouts.
"They have been different and something that I have never done before. We did something called Protect Your House where we ran our stadium twice."

How do you run a stadium that big without giving up?
"(Laugh) It's hard. It's all mental. Everything we do is mind over matter. You have to push your body through everything you do. But it will help us out in the long run."

How do you think those type workouts will help you in a game?
"When it comes down to the fourth quarter or fourth and short and you have to make a stop you might be tired but you know you can do it."

You've seen the freshmen during the summer. What are your thoughts about those guys, guys like Josh Boyd, Fletcher Cox?
"It was very eye-opening when I saw guys like Josh Boyd and Fletcher Cox in June. They look like they can play immediately. They are running fast and are working hard. I know they will play for us this year."

How well have they handled the strength and conditioning workouts this summer?
"When they first got here it was rough on them and they struggled a little bit. They've been here about two months now so they are looking just like us. But they might start off slow in two-a-days."

As an upperclassman, how did you help them through those early workouts?
"I was always encouraging them, staying on them, getting them here on Saturdays to do extra."

Who are some other freshmen that you believe MSU fans should watch for?
"I'll go to the offensive side. One guy who I watched in high school was Chad Bumphis. He is a very explosive player. I can't wait to see him this fall."

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

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