Sept. 1, 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 do you feel about your performances in practice leading up to opening day? "I'm feeling great about it. When I came in last year, I wasn't too familiar with the plays but everything is coming a lot easier to me this year."
Explain to Southern Miss fans how the team prepares for a particular opponent? "The offense looks at the defense and tries to work against it. The defense studies the offense. We basically learn what we have to do to beat them."
What do you like and dislike about road games? "I don't have many dislikes. I like going down there and having a crowd against us and hopefully upsetting them."
What are your biggest strengths and your biggest weaknesses? "I think that my biggest strength is my ability to get open. My biggest weakness is paying attention to detail. That is something that I can work on."
What do you think is the greatest sports movie of all time? "Any Given Sunday"
What's the hardest hit you've ever taken in a game? "Last year against McNeese State I was going across the middle and got hit really hard. I was dazed a little bit."
How important is confidence out on the field? "You have to have it. If you don't have confidence then you don't believe in yourself. If you have faith that you can do something then you will go out there and do it and it becomes easier to you."
Which superpower would you like to have? "I'd like to have speed. You can't teach it and you can't coach it. It's something that everyone wants and what everyone is looking for now."
What is your advice to high school athletes hoping to play sports in college? "First, you have to get it done in the classroom. If you want to go to a big school with a big program, you have to have the grades to get there. You have to stay focused on and off the field and not let anything interfere with what you want to do."
Give us your thoughts about the upcoming game? "I'm very excited about playing the Florida Gators. This time last year we were going through a lot of ups and downs. I'm looking forward to playing Saturday and having a lot of fun out there. We've been working really hard in practice, at two-a-days and throughout the summer."
What is the team's mentality right now? "Everything is full speed but we're taking it one play at a time. We're trying to make as little mistakes as possible and stay focused on our assignments."
You are also a member of the Golden Eagle track team. Do you think that playing one sport helps your performance in the other? "I think that track definitely goes hand-in-hand with football. Track is a little different because it's more of a one-on-one situation which makes it easier to see your mistakes. I think that track helps me out and it can be challenging sometimes. I have great coaches both in track and football and they keep me focused."
Explain to Southern Miss fans how important team chemistry is. "That is one of the most important things. If the team chemistry is not there then nothing else is there. You can't run a successful play without it. This year the chemistry on the team has been great. Guys are hanging out a lot at meetings, watching film and even going to the movies together. Chemistry is very important. There are eleven guys on the field and if one person messes up it affects the whole team."
What is your favorite movie? "Friday Night Lights"
How would your teammates describe you? "We have a joke in the locker room where they call me the 'preaching man.' I'm always cracking jokes and we would have skits after two-a-days. I guess you could say that I'm a jokester, especially out on the field. I'll crack jokes out there trying to keep the team going when things aren't going well. They look at me as one of the guys who can lift up the moral of the team. I'm definitely a jokester and I like to have fun."
If you could choose any other position to play, what would it be and why? "I would have to say that I would like to play linebacker. That position gets a lot of contact and you get to hit a lot. I enjoy hitting."
What team do you wish USM could play that isn't normally on the schedule? "I would love to play Miami. They're known each year to have a fast defense. Since I play offense, it would be a great challenge for me. We play this game because of its challenges."
What is your biggest fear out on the field? "I don't want to get injured. Not being able to come back from an injury is definitely one of my biggest fears. When we're out there I don't think about that; I concentrate on the assignments and how we can make a big play. I try to stay positive."
Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows. "I love to fish. Most people around here wouldn't see me as a big fisherman but I love to fish. I'm from the Jackson area so I go out to the reservoir a lot. I like to hunt too. I'm a big deer hunter. Whenever I get a chance to go home, my dad and I have a lot of fun hunting. My grandmother has a lot of land that we go on. Last year I killed a six-point and a ten-point."
How are you feeling about the upcoming game? "I'm confident about it but I'm nervous in an anxious way. I'm ready for it to be here. It's been a long preseason and it's going to be a tough game."
What are a few advantages that this year's team has over last year's? "I look at us as a closer team than last year's team. Last year, I didn't feel the unity that we have now. We have a lot of young players but in some positions there is going to be a lot of people coming back. We have some really good leaders."
What do you like to do on your down time? "I like to get massages, play golf and try to figure out ways to make money."
How do you feel being a senior this year? "I feel old. It's gone by way too fast like everybody says but a lot of the guys that I came here with will be here for a fifth year. I didn't get a redshirt. After this, I'm done with football and I have to get into the real world. It's a little scary."
If you could be drafted today, which team would you want to go to? "Miami Dolphins. It's not necessarily because I like them. I would love to live in Miami. I'm from Florida but not that part. It is so nice down there."
Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows? "I'm a magnificent cook. I love to cook but I don't like to clean up after myself when I'm done cooking. That keeps me from doing a lot."
Do you play any of the football video games that are out right now? "Every one in a while I'll play NCAA but I'm not a big video gamer."
What do you plan on doing with a degree in biology? "I'm waiting on my test scores to determine if I'm going to pharmacy school or not."
Did you get to go on any vacations this summer? "I went to Los Angeles for a snapping camp with my wonderful girlfriend. That's a lifestyle that I don't think I can live. It's so busy over there. It's a great place and I love it out there but it's busy."
What do you like and dislike about road games? "I like getting to go to big stadiums and getting away from everything. I like playing in front of big crowds, going on trips and being in a new city. I like playing in front of big crowds. Florida is so loud that you can't here anything. When we play in places like South Florida or Houston there aren't as many fans and you can hear them yelling at you. It's a different kind of atmosphere and I don't like going to places where there aren't a lot of fans. I don't like playing a night game then getting on the bus or plane and getting here at one in the morning. After that we usually get one day off and then start practice on Monday. It's much nicer to play at home."