MSU player quotes from media day

Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott responds to a reporter's question. Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott responds to a reporter's question. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott responds to a reporter’s question. Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott responds to a reporter’s question. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State concluded its annual media day by having several of its players answer questions from the media.

The following is a transcript of what junior quarterback Dak Prescott, junior linebacker Benardrick McKinney, sophomore offensive lineman Jamaal Clayborn and senior wide receiver Jameon Lewis had to say on Saturday.

15 Dak Prescott Jr. QB

On handling expectations …
“It’s probably the most frequent question asked by all of the media. Everyone is going to have expectations, good or bad. In this facility that you are in, we have our own expectations. That’s all we’re worried about is reaching and making sure everybody is reaching their individual expectations. Those will carry over into the team goals, which are basically [our] expectations. So we just have to get better. Everybody just wants to get better each and every day.”

On the level he considers himself on as a passer …
“I think [head] coach [Dan] Mullen is right in that I came in as an average passer and a good runner; that is one of the key points I have wanted to work on all throughout my college career. I think I have gotten better each and every year. He is the coach, and he said it just right.”

On what he has learned from first-year quarterback coach Brian Johnson on protecting himself as a running quarterback …
“Being smart and realizing I am a passer. I have to protect myself and my shoulders to be able to pass the ball. I can’t just be a down-nosed nasty runner. [It’s] about being smart, knowing when to get out of bounds and when to get down. Durability is more important than ability. Coach [Brian] Johnson speaks on that. So I just try to follow that.” 

On Benardrick McKinney and his leadership role with Benardrick …
“The younger guys are going to watch us. They’re going to watch everything we do from getting ready to go to practice, off-time in between practices, the things we do and the way we carry ourselves. Benardrick [McKinney] and I know people are going to watch us. So it’s about doing the right things to keep going, keeping people motivated and having the right attitude. And, the young guys will follow.

“Benardrick is a great leader, great player. Seeing him on the other side of the ball, I know he has the defense going with juice points, and it’s hard for me not to get this offense going. We just feed off each other.”

 50 Benardrick McKinney Jr. LB

On expectations for this season …
“It’s Mississippi State football. We play with relentless effort and know the expectations are very high. We come out to practice every day ready to play hard and fly to the ball. The defense and offense are getting after it [the ball]. Dak [Prescott] will be leading the offense, and our expectations are going to be very high.”

On team aspirations this season …
“We are aspiring to go to Atlanta [Georgia]. During the offseason and summer we have been working very hard and striving to be the best. Dak [Prescott] is leading the offense. Guys like Beniquez [Brown] and I are trying to lead the defense to be what we are supposed to be in order to compete at a high level.”

On how he describes his play as a linebacker …
“I’m very energized, and I play with a lot of juice. I try to play with passion and be a great leader on the field while flying to the ball and trying to make everyone around me better.”

60 – Jamaal Clayborn – So. – OL

On his feelings after the first few practices …
“I’m just excited to be back into the swing of things. It’s time to get down to business. I’m really looking forward to getting into pads and seeing how physical we are. We have a very physical team, and I’m looking forward to practice today.”

On defensive coordinator Geoff Collins …
“Coach [Geoff] Collins is a very enthusiastic coach. He loves when guys are ready to practice. He has a great, great defensive scheme. It’s good to be able to go up against one of the best defensive coordinators in the country, day in and day out.”

On how the defensive line prepares him to play the guard position better …
“We have one of the best defensive line corps in the country. They’re all physical, big and have great athletic ability.  Practicing against those guys is a great opportunity to get better every day.”

On the toughest defensive lineman to block in practice …
“All of them are pretty good and about the same, but Chris [Jones] is definitely one of the biggest challenges.”

4 – Jameon Lewis – Sr. – WR

On quarterback Dak Prescott …
“Dak [Prescott] has a great ability to get better at the small things. I watch him and learn about work ethic from him. This summer, he and I worked one-on-one a lot. He is always the first one on the field and the last one to leave. He makes sure every receiver is off the field before he leaves [practice]. He is always ready to get in extra work.”

On team aspirations this season …
“This is the team. It’s the road to Atlanta [Georgia], and it started two days ago. Atlanta [Georgia] is our goal, and we are on a steady grind towards it.” 

On when he knew expectations for this season would be so high …
“I really noticed expectations for this season during last season. I looked at who all we had on offense and defense coming back. Most people originally thought I was going to leave. I wasn’t going to leave because I knew this could be the year.

“We know who we have. This is my fifth year here, and it is the best team thus far on offense and defense. We’re loaded with so many weapons who can do so many different things. We’re going to keep [opponents] on their toes. I’m very excited and can’t wait for kickoff at our first game.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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