"My main goal was to put on weight because I was too light to do what I do. I had that staph infection at the beginning of the season two seasons ago and that really cut my weight down and I've been struggling to get back. I finally have gotten back on top of it. And I'm trying to improve my speed and my flexibility and I've gotten a good start on that."
How did you gain the weight?
"Losing weight and gaining weight are very similar. It's portion control. You have to eat the same things to lose weight as you do to gain weight to be healthy. But when you are trying to gain weight you have to eat more of the right foods. It's all about calories. And muscle is heavier than fat (so) the (weight) lifting is putting weight on at the same time."
How much weight have you gained?
"I've put on about 30 pounds since December. I now weigh about 235 to 236."
What do the coaches want you to weigh?
"They are happy where I am right now."
The team is doing yoga this summer. That's probably helped your flexibility.
"It has affected by flexibility tremendously. We do a little bit of balance and ab work during yoga. But my hamstring and lower back flexibility has improved tremendously."
How has the boxing that you guys are doing this summer helped you?
"It's not about improving football but learning the discipline to do things the right way. It's the cardiovascular part of it, the conditioning part of it. And at the same time, it gives you a feeling of accomplishment to go from looking awkward throwing a punch to hitting bags in combos and feeling good about yourself. It's about getting people in here and doing more."
Where have you seen the most improvements this summer from the workouts?
What do you mean by that?
"Anybody who can get 100 and something guys to show up at the same time at 5 o'clock in the morning .... we almost never before had everybody there. There was always somebody missing for something or the other. We have everybody there almost all the time now. And guys are going hard in the weight room that didn't used to go hard in the weight room. We have guys who are buying into the program and really feel like it is going somewhere."
You are one of the veterans on the team. Are you trying to be more of a leader this year, possibly a vocal leader?
"I try not to be too vocal with the team. I try to do things the right way and lead by example. That works better for me.
"My big thing is people looking up to me in the weight room and looking at me and saying to themselves, 'if he can do it, then why can't I do it?' I get a whole lot of, 'if the long snapper can do it, why can't I do it?' Some people might look at that as a cut, but I take it as a compliment because I'm going just as hard as these guys all the time no matter what even though my job on the field is not as strenuous."
Has any true freshman really catch your eye this summer?
"(Johnathan) McKenzie, the guy from Starkville Academy. He is unbelievable. His effort, his desire is unbelievable. The kid never stops; he's a machine. I've never seen him play football, but based on seeing him run and seeing him work out, he doesn't stop."
"I don't know a whole lot of the new guys but Cameron Lawrence has been impressive but he's been here for a little bit."