Aug. 11, 2006
Throughout the 2006 Golden Eagle Football season, a player from the offense, defense, and special teams will sit down for an interview with Southern Miss Athletic Media Relations Graduate Assistant Mallory Haynes on what you need to know about Southern Miss Football.
How have practices been going for you so far? "Pretty good. It's a typical two-a-days. For the most part it's been good. The young people are playing young but at the same time are getting better."
Has it been difficult to adjust to the heat?
"Not really. When you know it's going to be hot it isn't that bad. It's southern Mississippi."
What did you do this summer to prepare for the upcoming season? "I worked hard. I worked with Coach Dudley who is our strength and conditioning coach. I did what we were supposed to do and a little more."
This is your fourth-consecutive season as a starter on the offensive line. What is your advice to the younger players who will have to fill you shoes next season? "Play the game with emotion. What you did last year doesn't matter. You have to come out and do it every year. You have to be hungry. If you're not hungry you'll never get anything. You have to listen to the coaches because they know what they're talking about. Technique will carry you."
You are one of those seniors who everyone looks to for leadership. How do you plan on providing leadership to the team this year? "Just do it. There is no plan. I'm going to do what I've been doing but at the same time I'm going to try to make better decisions in small situations. Lead by example."
Is there a specific team that you can't wait to play this season? "All the teams we play. I look forward to each and every game."
What team do you wish USM could play that isn't normally on the schedule?
In your opinion, what makes a good football player? "A person who is going to give it their all and be the best at what they do. You have to work hard at practice and play hard in the games."
What is your biggest fear out on the field? "Nothing. I just play football."
How do you feel practices have been going for the team?
"It's been going good. It's been a little tough and everybody is trying hard. The conditioning part is getting everybody a little tired but we're pushing through it. It's making us better for later practices and for the games."
What are your expectations for the team this year?
"Hopefully to win every game. You always expect to win every game. That's about as good as it gets and you don't want anything less."
The coaching staff is counting on you to provide leadership on the defensive line. How do you plan to do that?
"Just by the way you play. You have to try to make as many plays as you can. Hopefully people will pick up on that and want to work harder in the games and in practice."
How hard is it for you to adjust to the heat?
"It's not too hard. If you're from the South it's not that big of a deal. I'm going on my fourth year here so it's not that bad. You know what to expect from the way it's been before."
What are a few advantages that this team has over last year's team?
"I think that the defensive line is closer. We communicate more which will hopefully lead to better results."
Do you think playing as a senior this year will change how you actually play the game?
"Definitely. We went to the New Orleans Bowl last year and you always want to do better than you did before. It motivates you because you want to reach the highest that you can possibly go. That's what we're all working for."
Are there a few things that you did last season that made you stop and say, "Hey, I'm going to do this differently next season?"
"Making more plays. You always want to make more plays than you did the year before. As far as defensive objectives are concerned, we want to get our total defense better."
Which team are you looking forward to playing the most?
"Florida right now because it's the first game."
What is our favorite thing about football season?
"The games. Saturdays and Saturday nights."
So far, what has been your best moment on a football field?
"My first college game was against Nebraska which we won."
How have practices been going?
"Great. It's been hot out here but I think that we're getting a lot of stuff accomplished. We're looking forward to facing the Gators."
What did you do this summer to prepare for the upcoming season?
"I did a lot of different kicking drills. I hit the weight room hard this summer. I don't want any regrets leaving here this year as a senior."
Is there a particular part about your game that you concentrated on that you felt needed more work?
"In practice, I try to visualize what I'll see in a game. At the away games fans yell to try to get into your brain so I try to visualize that. I try to take every kick in practice like it's a game kick."
How different do you feel being a senior and knowing that this is your last season here at Southern Miss?
"I don't want any regrets. It's flown by and I've had a great time. I want to leave here a champion. I want us to win the Conference USA championship."
Last season, you recorded the best season ever by a Golden Eagle kicker. How does that make you feel?
"It's astounding. No one can ever take that away from me. When I come up here as an alumnus and can read my name in the media guide, I'll have a good feeling in my stomach."
Do you feel any pressure this year because of that?
"Definitely. I have standards and Coach Bower expects me to do well. I always try to impress Coach and my teammates as well. I feel like I have something to obtain and live by."
What are your expectations for yourself this season? "Perfect."
What are your expectations for the team?
"We're the closest Golden Eagle team that I've seen so far in preseason. Everybody is getting along so well. Hopefully that will help us work harder and win more games together."
The team has a very exciting schedule this season. Is there a particular team that you can't wait to play?
"Mainly Florida because it's our first game but also Tulsa. They came to the Rock last year and defeated us so we would like to go over there and steal a win from them."
If you could choose any other position to play, what would it be?
What do you like about being a kicker and what are its advantages compared to other positions?
"You don't have to go out here in the heat and get yelled out as much."