Sept. 8, 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.
What are your thoughts about the Florida game? "It was a game that we should have done better in but it's behind us now and we're looking forward to this next game."
How are you feeling about the upcoming game against Southeastern Louisiana? "I'm really anxious about it. I didn't play up to my expectations as well as the expectations of others. I'm looking forward to coming in and playing a big game this weekend."
The coaches have said that you have excellent speed. How important is speed for a quarterback? "In today's age, we've got a lot of mobile quarterbacks and that's what people are looking for. They're looking for the guys that can pass and run. I'm happy that speed comes naturally to me."
You knew that you were going to be battling for the starting position this season. How did that affect your training throughout the spring and summer? "I have always approached the situation as if I was the starter, whether I was or not. I knew that I had to come in and do a lot of things because Stephen Reaves is a great quarterback. He does a lot of great things so I knew that I had to come out here and do great things to earn the starting position."
Now that your first game jitters are gone, what are you focusing on for Saturday's game? "I just want to come back and do better than I did last week. I want to make more plays, put more points on the board and do a lot of good things for this university."
Having such a major role on the team, do you have any superstitions that help keep you going? "I don't have that many superstitions and I'm not really a superstitious guy. I just go out there and play football."
What is your dream job? "I'm marketing-based so I would love to be the Director of Marketing for Budweiser. I love those commercials that they have, especially the ones for the Super Bowl."
What did you think about Southern Miss' fan representation in Gainesville? "I was surprised. I didn't think that we were going to have that many fans over there. It was a long way from here in Hattiesburg. There was an Eagle Walk when we got off of the bus and I was really happy to see everyone."
Being that this weekend is the home opener, what traditions do you like here at Southern Miss home games? "I love the atmosphere of The Rock and we have a great fan base. I love the student section and watching them come out to support us. I like to see all of the fans like the boosters and the alumnae every week out here for us. I'm especially looking forward to this home opener."
Some of your teammates believe you to be comparable to Vince Young. What do you think about that? "I guess I look at it as a good thing. Vince Young is a great quarterback and he did a lot of great things for Texas but I want to be my own name. I want to be someone who people can compare to one day. I'm happy about it but I still want to have my own identity."
What are your thoughts about the Florida game? "I feel that as a team we did well but our mistakes killed us and we can always improve that."
How are you feeling about the upcoming game against Southeaster Louisiana? "We're hungry for a win. We've been coming out and practicing hard this week and the only thing that matters right now is getting a win."
You are one of the team's hardest hitters. What powers you to hit so hard? "I do it for the love of the game. Not everybody comes up hitting; you have to want to do it. I'm a hitter and that's what I do."
As well as being one of the team's hardest hitters, you are also one of the team's fastest players. Do you think those two characteristics run hand-in-hand? "I definitely think that they run hand-in-hand. When you have speed, you can get away with more than the average cat can. I'm not bragging. I'm humble and I'm a team player but it definitely helps me."
You were named to the 2005 All-Conference USA Second Team as a sophomore. Does that give you hopes for greater success in the future? "Of course, you always try to get better each year. That is what I plan on doing each season. I always strive to come out harder than I did the year before. Hopefully by coming out stronger than I did last year I'll make the first team."
Besides winning, what is most rewarding about being a college football player? "It's about enjoying the love of the game. It's just a game and all you have to do is go out there and remember your responsibilities. The most important thing is to have fun."
On Saturday, you really got the game started when you intercepted Chris Leak's pass, which ultimately lead to a Southern Miss touchdown. How were you feeling at that moment? "Everything was wild. We had our motivation going and the offense fed off of our hype. Everything was going good but we let it go at the end. We need to focus on finishing the game."
If you could be on any reality TV show, what would it be? "The Real World"
What's the hardest hit you've ever taken? "It was the hit that I took Saturday night on the kickoff return. He hit me low so it didn't hurt that bad but it was really hard. I didn't see it coming until the last minute."
You've been playing for Southern Miss for 3 years now. What is your favorite stadium to travel to? "Alabama because it's so loud. It always feels like the stadium is rockin'.
What do you think about your performance against Florida? "I did o.k. and I did what I should have. There were a couple of punts that I could have hit a little better. There is definitely some room for improvement."
What have you been working on this week? "I've been working on the technical parts of punting like the drop and the steps. We have to make sure that our timing is good because this team really comes in fast on the punt."
What are you looking forward to with Saturday being the home opener? "It's always fun to play in The Rock. There are fans that you know are there to support you. I'm from around here so there will be a lot of people here that I know watching me play. I've always loved going out there and playing in the atmosphere with people that you know have come to watch you."
If you could model yourself after one of your coaches, which coach would it be and why? "Coach Bower because he pushes through and has been here a while. He's led a lot of good teams and he's really disciplined. You have to walk a straight line with him. You can't sway. A line is a line. You need a disciplined coach like him because it helps a lot."
Being from Laurel, did you attend many Southern Miss games growing up? "I came to a few growing up. I came to a lot when I became interested in playing football down here. I like the atmosphere and I like the people down here."
If you could choose to play any other position, which position would it be and why? "I played receiver in high school and I've always like being out on the field scoring and having a good time catching the ball."
What goes through your mind when you are about to punt the ball? "Get it out. Don't let it get blocked."
You still have a few more years here. What are your expectations for yourself over that time period? "To be consistent and to set an aim for myself as a consistent kicker."
What type of music gets you ready for a game? "A little bit of everything. We listen to a little rap but I like to listen to country right before the game so I can cool down and not go out there too hyped."