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[Premium Article] MSU players Fred Reid, Darren Williams, T. J. Mawhinny, Blake Jones and Justin Griffith talk about the 11-8 victory over Troy State.
Sophomore running back Fred Reid
Talk about how tough their defense was.
"They were tough but we had to just come out and play real hard. The running game had not been there all year. We have to step up each week. We found some holes today because the line stepped up."
A win is a win. It wasn't your A game, but was it a relief to you guys?
"Yeah, it was a relief for us no matter how many points we won by. We just have to get back to that winning style. It is another step for us. We just have to keep it up."
What is it out there. There just doesn't seem like there is something clicking. Is it emotion, execution, effort...what is it?
"It is execution. Everybody has to step it up. We have to get on the right page. We just have to keep working at it."
It seems like the offense would have a good play, then follow it with a bad play.
"Once I had a bad play and I put my head down a little bit, but Coach Davis told me to keep my head up."
Some would call this an ugly win, but how important was it to helping build the team confidence back up?
"It is very important. It gives us a little confidence going into Memphis next week. But we still know we have to work harder."
You had 111 yards during the game. That has to give you a lot of confidence in yourself.
"I got the carries that I have been wanting. I had to get those first carries to get myself going. I felt real confident after that. I feel that I can do that every week if I can get the carries."
Do you pattern your effort after any back that play or played at State, backs such as Dicenzo Miller and Justin Griffith?
"Yeah, I used to watch Dicenzo a lot. He gave tremendous effort. I have told myself if I can run like Dicenzo, I can be a good player one day. Both he and Justin run real hard. I just have to do like they do and I can become a great back."
True freshman free safety Darren Williams
Was this the type game you dream about?
"Yeah, it is the type game you dream about. And my dream came true. I can't stress how much the other people in the secondary, the veterans in the secondary, helped me out. They helped me out a lot. I really appreciate playing with them."
(Darren had three interceptions.-Gene) Are you going to volunteer to go on the offensive side of the ball?
"If they need me over there, they will tell me."
What was it like to get your first college interception?
"I have been waiting on it a long time. We were in cover-five and the guy ran a corner route. I broke on it and wanted to take it to the endzone but a lineman came and cut me."
What were you thinking when you saw the passes coming your way on those interceptions?
"Actually, when the balls were coming I couldn't believe it. I was in a zone and really can't remember exactly what I was thinking."
The one time I saw you intercept a ball in high school you ran it back for a touchdown. Are you disappointed that you didn't run any of the three today back for a touchdown?
"Yeah, that was what I wanted to do. I thought I was going to be able to take the third one to the house, but I got tripped up. It will get better. I will start taking them to the house as I continue getting them."
Is there a point where you start seeing what the offense is doing after you have started for a while?
"That comes with film studying during the week. Once you study the film, you get a pretty good feel of the offense. But like I said, with the seniors that I have out there, that helps out a lot. I am blessed to have them in the secondary with me."
Although you had a great game, the entire defensive effort seemed to be really good today.
"To be honest with you, if it wasn't for the down linemen I don't think I would have gotten those three picks because they were putting a big rush on the quarterbacks and he was having to get rid of it fast."
Talk about having seniors Korey Banks and Josh Morgan back there to help you.
"Korey and Josh talked to me a lot and help keep me straight on the plays. Everything worked out perfect."
Talk about the play of another freshman, Kevin Dockery. You are sort of the veteran compared to him since you now have two starts and he has one (laugh).
"(Laugh) Well, since Kevin got here for two-a-days, he has been having good practices but he just had to learn. He has good technique. I wasn't worried about him at all. I knew he was ready. I had that kind of confidence in him."
You started at South Carolina last week, but this was at home. Was it kind of a coming out party for you with the three interceptions?
"It is not a coming out party. They haven't seen anything yet. But it was a start. I still have a lot of work to do to get myself ready."
Junior center Blake Jones
Talk about the overall offense.
"Overall, the offense is very close to being a real good offense. If we cut down on the turnovers and a few other mistakes we are going to break out and be a great offense."
The defense broke out today. Does that give you hope for the future for the offense?
"Definitely. The defense played inspired football. That always inspires everybody else. They always say defense wins football and the offense sells tickets. And they won this one for us today. We put up enough points to win. It wasn't a lot of points but it was enough to win."
What are you guys talking about while the defense is on the field and the game is close?
"We are telling each other we have to execute and get things done. We go over what we have seen in the previous series and we adjust to it and talk to the coaches in the booth, Coach McCray and Coach Woods. We find out what they are doing and what we did wrong on plays. It is really a professional type attitude out there."
There were times the fans booed during the game. Do you guys hear that while on the field?
"You can't notice anything like that. There will be a few sometimes but you can't let it bother you, though. You are going to play football and there is going to be another play no matter what the fans are doing. You can't let that affect you; you have to concentrate on the next play."
When you make a mistake, do you sometimes feel like booing yourself inside?
"If you mess up you are definitely disappointed, but if you stay disappointed you are letting the team down because you have to get ready for the next play. If you are disappointed you have to get over it quick and tell yourself you aren't going to make the same mistake twice."
I noticed that on two punts (true freshman offensive lineman) Richard Burch downed them. Talk about his effort.
"It is great effort. Everybody is supposed to run their lanes when Brett (Morgan) punts the ball like that. It just so happens that five of the people running and covering their lanes are offensive linemen. It was a great effort on his part to get down there. He is definitely athletic to begin with."
Did it seem to you that Richard Burch had another good game after having such a great game against South Carolina?
"I don't think he has had a bad game yet. And I don't foresee him having a bad game. He has played well so far and I believe he will continue to get better."
What is it about him that makes him so good?
"He is a combination of a lot of good things. He is definitely a good kid. He is a good guy. He has the ability and size. He obviously has the mental capacity to pick up on things. He really has all he needs to be a really good football player."
Talk about the play of Fred Reid and Justin Griffith. They really gave great effort, the kind of effort you saw when Dicenzo Miller played here.
"They did. Cokey is known for being a leader and giving effort. You know every play he is going to bust his tail. And you know Fred is going to try hard. He is a great back who has great vision and speed. You feel very confident that he is going to do the right thing everytime he touches the ball."
Junior linebacker T. J. Mawhinney
Talk about the defense's performance.
"We played good. We limited our mistakes and came up with big plays. Darren Williams had three picks; he was our player of the game on defense. We ran a bunch of difference schemes and caught them off-guard. We executed well."
Talk about your interception.
"It was a tipped ball. I was in the right place at the right time. Coach Sherrill yelled at me about the penalty (spiking the ball after the interception). It was stupid to spike the ball then."
Senior fullback Justin Griffith
How much confidence does this give the team, especially seeing the defense step it up?
"Watching the defense, it looked like the same defense that ranked number one in the country a few seasons ago. They played like that today. They had a couple of busts, but six turnovers is unbelievable. We had that freshman back there playing free safety and three of them were his. I think their play has really motivated us a lot."
Talk about the fumbles while trying to get more yardage.
"Playing hard the whole game you are sometimes going to let the ball loose because you are trying to fight for a couple of extra yards. We just need to concentrate on squeezing the ball a little harder when we are in traffic."
Talk about the fact that you guys have to help Kevin out because he is really taking a beating.
"We have to go back and really work on pass protection. I'm pretty sure when we go back to work this week, that is what we will really work hard on. We will go to work and solve the problem."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.