A Q&A With Jamar Chaney

Mississippi State senior linebacker Jamar Chaney talks one-on-one with Gene's Page.

You really look like you have muscled up since last season. Have you gained weight since last season?
"I've probably only put on about 2 pounds but I've lost a lot of body fat. I'm down to about 8% body fat now. That's what (strength) Coach (Matt) Balis has us doing. You can look at our before and after pictures and see the difference. It's amazing, like a totally different person."

Has the offseason workouts been worth it now that you can reflect back on it?
"Yeah, it has been worth it because this offseason I have never pushed myself or had someone push me like he has. It's amazing to think about going into the (preseason) camp and season in the shape that I'm in now."

As a senior, what are you trying to do this season?
"Be more of a leader, lead by example. Going into these two-a-days getting in everybody's face. Making sure everybody comes out there and give their relentless effort in practice. And make sure we focus on the task at hand. And that is going out there and competing and trying to win all the games we can."

Are you comfortable in the leadership role?
"Yeah, I'm comfortable. Coach (Mullen) expects it from me and I expect it from myself. I'm going into my fifth year and I don't expect anything less of me."

You were injured last season and missed most of the season. You were probably disappointed initially but you were redshirted and are back for your senior season. Now that you can look back on it, are you excited about the opportunity to come back and play again?
"I'm excited about this year. At first, I was kind of shaky, down, sad and what not. But to see what is going on here right now with what (head) Coach (Dan) Mullen, Coach Balis and all the other coaches are bringing, the excitement they are bringing, it's exciting.

"And with how hard we have been working this offseason, I feel like after this year I am going to be more prepared to make that jump to the next level."

What are your realistic expectations for this year's football team based on what you saw in the spring and the summer?
"Our expectations are nothing less than going to the SEC Championship game. Those championships are won in the summer and when we go through two-a-days, who is going to put in the most work. Almost all the games in the SEC come down to the wire. Every week you have to go out there and put all your heart into it. And if we go out there and do what we have to do, then we have a pretty good shot. I think every team in the SEC has a legitimate chance of getting there. It comes down to who is going to pay the price since last season was over with."

What are your long-range expectations for this program under the guidance of Coach Mullen?
"Being one of the top teams not only in the SEC but in the nation. The excitement they are bringing here, the competitiveness that they have as coaches; those are the kind of things that they are bringing here. And if it keeps going like it has been going there is no telling how far they can take this program."

What are you majoring in?
"Sports Management."

When will you finish?
"I'm graduating in the fall."

That's got to give you and your parents a sense of pride?
"It means a lot to me because I will be the first person in my family to graduate from college. It is going to be a big deal to them and me. That was one other benefit of coming back for another year; I get to go ahead and get my degree. I'm pretty excited about that."

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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