Mississippi State Quarterback Wesley Carroll
On how far he's come in a year:
"I'd be lying if I said a year ago that I thought I'd be here. I didn't expect everything to happen so fast. 13 to 14 months ago I was in high school; I wasn't thinking about being here at SEC Media Days. God has blessed me with a great opportunity and I just hope we can be better this year."
On this year's team:
"I feel we can compete for an SEC Championship. I definitely believe we can play with teams like Auburn and Alabama. Last year we played well against Tennessee and South Carolina but felt like we let those games get away from us late. We believe we can be better and win those games this year. We had a good spring and if we have good two-a-days we can look forward to a good opener against Louisiana Tech. Hopefully we'll get off to a good start and keep it rolling, but we have to focus on each game without looking ahead. We're not going to sneak up on anyone this year."
On his supporting offense and teammates:
"That's what is great about (Head) Coach (Sylvester) Croom, he doesn't sugar coat things. He'll tell you when you need to be working harder and in which areas you need to improve. Working with the running backs and wide receivers, the skill position guys in the spring has helped tremendously. I feel like we're on the same page unlike last year."
On what was a bigger win in 2007, Alabama or Mississippi?:
"Which one was first? Alabama, I guess. That's the thing; we only worry about the upcoming game. This year it is definitely a goal to beat both of them again, just like I'm sure it's their goals too."
On the offense being more explosive:
"We definitely need more balance on offense to be more consistent. We feel we play against one of the best defenses in practice every day, so we are prepared. We would like to have more explosive plays (22 yards or more) in order to make strides in the passing game and running game."
On the other quarterbacks on the team:
"I feel good about the other guys. We have Tyson Lee who is a junior college transfer and Chris Relf. We really push each other and we all know the offense well which is good."
On playing as a true freshman in 2007:
"The toughest thing was getting the older guys to listen to me and trust me. It was great having guys like Royce Blackledge, a fifth-year senior, and Titus Brown taking me under their wing. That was one of the reasons we had a good season."
Mississippi State linebacker Jamar Chaney
On playing for Coach Croom:
"It's really great. He cares about us as a man and a person both on and off the field."
On Coach Croom being one of the few African-American head coaches in the nation:
"We take it as a great opportunity to play for the first black head coach in the SEC. What he's doing now is opening doors for a lot of people."
On the team's goals for 2008:
"We just want to finish better. We won eight games and went to the Liberty Bowl, but we want to go out and prove we are even better this year."
On strength of their defense:
"I think with eight returning starters who are all seniors. With two starting linebackers returning, I think experience is going to be the strength of our defense."
On if he'd imagined beating Alabama and Auburn on the road in the same year:
"Yes, actually I did because I never have gone into a game thinking we were going to lose. I feel we can win every game we play."
On not beating Arkansas and LSU since he's been there:
"It's something we'd like to do but we're taking it one game at a time. Our focus right now is on training camp and Louisiana Tech. We'll worry about those games when they get here."
On the strength of the SEC West:
"I think we're pretty strong. We have the National Champion and the SEC Champion plus Alabama and Auburn. I think the West can compete with the East."
On signing with Georgia initially:
"I wouldn't change anything. I have friends who play for Georgia but I love being a Mississippi State Bulldog."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.