Cook driving himself for 2005 season

Redshirt freshman Fullback Jason Cook had a very good and productive spring, according to Running Backs Coach Frank Wilson. Since then, he has dedicated himself to physical improvement in the offseason. The work has paid off.

The yell from the weight room shook the whole indoor practice facility. You could hear it over the blaring music and the numerous weighted bars slamming against the floor.

It was from usually quiet, reserved and all-business Fullback Jason Cook.

Why? He had just hit the 500-pound mark in the squat, a milestone for excellence in that particular lift.

His teammates started pounding him on the backand mobbing him. They were fully aware that had been a major goal of Jason's and he's the type all of them want to see succeed.

"That was a great moment for me personally," said Jason. "I take pride in the little things. I set private goals and try to reach them. I reached that one and can now mark it off my list."

When you talk to Cook, you get well-thought, concise answers to questions.

How did spring go for him? His coach, Frank Wilson, called it "extremely good." Jason, being a humble person, played it down.

"It was a good start," he said. "It was my first spring and I have yet to step on the field in a real game. It was mediocre to what I want a normal spring to be in the future, but it was a positive start."

After spring training, and after some self-evaluation, Cook, a Scholar-Athlete Award winner this year, set out to have the best offseason he could.

"Mentally, I sat down and had a long talk with myself. I see what I need to do to help this team and I understand the responsibility of being a starter," he explained. "I have been extremely focused on doing the things I need to do - get bigger, stronger, faster, learn the offense inside and out, being a more physical FB, and so on.

"The way I look at this is that it's up to me this year. Rick (Razzano) and Lorezo (Townsend), my mentors last season, are gone. I'm next in line and plan on staying there. We've got some other talented players at fullback, but I consider it my job and I don't plan on losing it. I don't depend on anyone to do my job but me. That is why I have worked so hard since January 1."

Cook is also the ultimate team player, which you can readily hear in his next statement.

"It is vital to me to gain the trust of my teammates. To do that, I have to be in peak condition and they have to see me performing to the best of my ability," he closed. "From there, I just want to go out and play and have fun. I want to be a part of something big and that's our goal in Ole Miss football."

When August practice rolls around, one thing is certain. The Ole Miss coaches will get the best Jason Cook has to offer.

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