MSU Media Day: Billy Gonzales

Mississippi State wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales can barely contain his excitement about the upcoming season. See what Gonazles had to say about his wideouts during the Bulldogs’ on-campus media day.

On being back …

“It’s great to be back. It’s great to be around the players again. It’s great to have an opportunity to get out here with the fellas and have a chance to see them work out all summer. They did a great job. Coach (Rick) Court, our strength coach and his strength staff did a great job getting our players back to us and getting them ready, get them in condition and get them in the best of shape. He did a good job doing that, so to get a chance to see the guys make the transformation from when they arrived. Some of these freshmen have added 10-15 pounds already. Their bodies have already changed, and now it’s just an opportunity to get around them. As a coach, we go on vacation, a well-needed vacation, at the end of camp in June, but at the same time after a couple of weeks, I think any coach out there is probably doing the same thing. They start itching. They start scratching. They want to get back around their players, and we got a chance to get back now. We’re around them. They are our family. I think if you take a look at the gloves the players are wearing they say family on them, and that really does reflect what kind of program coach (Dan Mullen) has built here and how we coach our players. I’m excited to be back. I’m excited to be around the players like I said.”

On the team’s energy …

“We talk about having great energy and so far in the first couple of practices, there has been great energy. A couple of young guys got in a little tussle out there. I saw Harrison Moon out there going 1on-1 with a little battle out there. Understand we want to try to build that toughness and have that energy and that what’s you’re looking for with a great, young group of guys when they come in here. So far, their attitude has been fantastic and the guys are looking good.”

On preparing the guys …

“We talk about preparing our guys right now. I heard coach Mullen. I had a chance to sit here a catch some of his. Preparing the young guys, depth wise. Camp for us is going to be critical right now. Preparing for depth for that reason. If you take a look at what we did last year. Look at the NFL draft and the free agencies that we lost from last year’s team. We have a ton of guys on that team right now that are in NFL camps right now. Somebody has got to step up on the offensive side for us, come out, and be able to replace that guy. Whatever reps Josh delivered to us last year, we got to have a couple. I heard coach talking. We have four other running backs right now that got to take that load and kind of redistribute that area.”

On program identity …

“I know coach always touches on is relentless effort. I think that is something that we have been stressing to our players from day one. As soon as we walk out there on the field give relentless effort, continue to develop. It is our job as position coaches, it is our job as coordinators, and coaches on this team to make sure that we are all giving everything that we’ve got to our players to develop and maximize our players potential and put them in the best position, so they can make plays, but it’s our job to get out there and make sure that they are working fundamentally to improve. “

On the receivers …

“Continue to do what we did last year. What I mean by that is we led the SEC last year in plus plays of 20 yards. We also led the SEC in plus plays of 10 yards, and that’s something we talk about as far as contributing points, contributing to getting first downs, playing to win and that means playing great defensive, so if we can continue to do that, we will put points up on the board. Within my specific position, we talk about making five big plays. For us, five big plays a game is to have 20 yards or more on a play and for us if we can help a running back on the perimeter, blocking to get that 20-yard play, that goes down as one of those five for us.”

On Donald Gray …

“First and foremost with Donald is that we have to continue to develop him, and when I say develop that means develop off the field equally as well and on the field. You always start, whenever you get a new player, no matter if it’s a junior college kid or a freshman coming in, you always want to make sure that its small steps. Small steps to make sure that: one, class attendance is great. Make sure that they are doing a great job academically. Two, make sure that they’ve done a great job in the weight room. Those are the things that’ll transition to start you off. Then once you get them on the football field, now he’s got raw ability, he’s got raw talent, he’s got all the intangibles that you want. He’s got great speed. He’s got great make you miss and that’s just in the first couple of days of practice, so from this point on, it’s really about how hard he continues to work and you want to make sure you feed him by levels. You got to make sure you don’t give him too much, but he’s got to continue to learn, but athletically he’s got all the intangibles, but at the same time, we’ve got more than one player that has those intangibles. He’s got to continue to work, got to continue to get better, and make improvements, and if he can do that then hopefully, he will have an opportunity to help us, but he does show those signs that he can be a difference maker. We had a practice yesterday. He had an 80-yard plus touchdown in 7-on-7, but came back and dropped a six-yard hitch, so those are the things that we are looking about. We are trying to make sure that our players are improving in all facets, but Donald is definitely going to be a guy, that if he continues to work, he’ll have an opportunity to help us.”

On De’Runnya Wilson being draft eligible …  

“I had a talk with De’Runnya about that earlier during spring and a little bit this summer. Not just him, but I’ve talked to Fred Brown, Fred Ross, the players that are draft eligible. We talk about just developing their fundamentals. When you have a chance to talk to them, it’s based on ‘well coach, I’m not going anywhere unless I’m ready. First and foremost, Coach for me the most important thing’, his answer was awesome, ‘Coach, I want to win. I want to be developed. I came here to come to school. I came here to get better. I’m not as advanced as a receiver that’s played his entire life. I only played one year in high school coming up’. He understands where he’s at right now. He’s got a great mindset. His only objective right now is to get better day-by-day and if he continues to get better day-by-day, again performance on the football field is ultimately the biggest thing for an NFL team, if that were to be something that comes about, they are the ones that will come back and visit with coach Mullen about that. From my standpoint, we got a lot more developing to do, continually to get him better to make sure that he is one of the best receivers in the SEC.”

On Keith Mixon …

“Keith is explosive. I saw there was a video up yesterday. I think there were some vines out. I think one of the production teams put out some video of our 1-on-1 blocks, and it’s really great to get a chance to see your young guys. I don’t need to see Gabe (Myles). I don’t need to see Fred Ross. Those guys are doing individual drills where it’s 1-on-1 blocking. I’ve seen them over the last three years getting an opportunity to that. The first day you go out there, you always want to have a chance to see your freshman, put your freshman out there, see how they handle it, because this is their first time to strap a helmet on, put the pads on, and be in an 1-on-1 situation. He rocked off that ball so quick. He came off, shot his hands inside. I always want to try to judge a receiver, when he’s on contact, if he’s turning his head. If I got a guy that’s turning his head, it’s going to be awhile on the development process, but if you have a guy that’s ready to come at you right now and he hits you straight, right between the pad level, right there, eyes up underneath the chin, that’s what you’re looking for straight down. That’s what you’re looking for. Looking for a guy that’s got toughness. I don’t care about anything else right now. Give me a guy that’s got great toughness and great work ethic. We can develop the rest. There is a reason why he’s here. That’s our job to develop him. From that standpoint, he’s got those two things. Now, the learning part is the part that takes time for a freshman because everything is so fast right now. We are putting seven days, eight days of installation in. You’re turning. You’re learning. You’re quick. You practice one day, the next day is a new installation, but from that standpoint, he’s got the quickness, he’s got the toughness, and that’s what I’m looking for.”

On Malik Dear, Deddrick Thomas, and Donald Gray …

“It’s been awesome. You take a look and all three of those guys, from my standpoint, when we went out on the practice field the other day to start looking at repetitions. What you do is you break down repetitions, and I’m going to rotate my guys. I think it’s a great opportunity. We teach our players here that our offensive scheme is that you have to learn your formations and you have to learn your concepts. Once you learn your formations and concepts, things get really easy. The other part its really easy, so what you can do is you can change guys and flip guys around in multiple positions.”

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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