A Q&A With Quentin Saulsberry

Mississippi State sophomore offensive guard Quentin Saulsberry talks one-on-one with Gene's Page.

You look like you've gained quite a bit of weight. How much have you gained since last season?
"At the end of last season I was like 275. I now weigh 300."

What else did you try to improve on this summer?
"I tried to improve my work ethic, not just being satisfied with the goal (strength) Coach (Matt) Balis set but try to do even more. With conditioning and training it's all a mind thing."

I can understand that. I tried walking the steps at Davis Wade Stadium and I was wore out walking one set of steps. And you guys ran the steps twice in one workout.
"Compared to the first time we did the steps in Protect The House to the second time it's like we killed it. The first time was so hard because our body wasn't used to it, but we killed it the second time. The first time we weren't used to getting out of our comfort zone."

With your first summer over under Coach Balis is there a great sense of accomplishment?
"Yeah, as far as training-wise, it is. A lot has been accomplished. A lot of guys have gained weight and a lot of guys have lost weight. We have more guys in shape now. But we haven't even started as to where we want to be. Now, we get into the fundamentals of football, just getting back to basic football."

What kind of improvement have you seen in the offensive line overall during the spring and summer?
"I've seen a lot of people's attitude change as far as working-wise. A lot more people want to do things. Instead of just laying back and letting others do the work, everybody is taking the initiative to do things now."

Monday is the first day of preseason practice. It's a new staff, a new system. What are you looking forward to?
"Being a player you have to be ready for sudden change, no matter who is out there. You have to buy into the system no matter who your coach is. You and your coach have to trust each other. You are going to trust that he is going to coach you well and he has to trust that you are going to do the things that he tells you to do.

"But what I expect tomorrow is just everybody coming out and doing their jobs, nothing more, nothing less. You do your job at the best of your ability. And it starts with the inner person first. You say in your mind that you can do the things that your coach tells you to do, then you can do it. And as long as every man is doing his job, we will be ok. That only thing we can control is the attitude and effort."

You are going into your third year at Mississippi State, so you've been through it a few years. How do you help the freshmen prepare for their preseason practice and their first season?
"The thing I tell them is to have a sense of urgency, pay attention to all the details even the little things. The little things make up the big things. One block could be the key block in a game. But the block first starts with your hands, your feet, your hat placement. Doing all those little things is what makes up a big block."

How comfortable are you at offensive guard?
"Comfortable, I don't think you are ever comfortable in football. But am I more satisfied with the position? Yes. But you never know what position you might be at next. That's with anybody.

"But you get up each day and say that whatever my job is I'm going to do it. You make sure you are doing your one of the eleven."

What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses at the offensive guard position?
"Really, now the only thing that is my real weakness is getting used to the playbook, getting used to the change in the speed of the game. Last year, we were mostly trying to power, power, power, but now everything is spread out."

Considering that this is a new coaching staff and a new offensive system, what are your realistic expectations for this year's team?
"My realistic expectations for this team is to excel to our highest potential. These coaches have come from all over from all different places. (Head) Coach (Dan) Mullen came from Florida. (Offensive line) Coach (John) Hevesy, if you look at his resume, has come from everywhere. So, they are bringing a lot to Mississippi State and a lot to the table."

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 swindoll@genespage.com.

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