MSU Media Day: Billy Gonzales

Opening Statement
“First and foremost I’d like to thank coach Dan Mullen and Scott Stricklin for letting me enter my fourth season here. It has been fantastic. I also want to thank the city of Starkville for an incredible atmosphere. It is an incredible place to live. The community, support, environment and atmosphere that the fans create; I still remember talking with coach Dan Mullen about the opportunity to come here and the biggest thing he said was that it’s about the people and how great the fans are. It is great to be back here and be around players. I had a chance to look out my window and see the grounds crew out lining the football fields. This time of year the grass looks greener, the air smells fresher and everything about it, the locker room still stinks but its that time of year. The players are excited and ready to get going. They have had a great summer with coach [Nick] Savage. It ended a little bit better for us this year with a bowl game win, leaving a better taste in our mouths. We are excited to get going with this crew. Also, a shout out to Starkville Little League [Baseball]. They are going out to Waco, Texas to represent the state of Mississippi, so I just wanted to mention that since my son is playing.”

On using Fred Ross at all three WR positions…
“He’s learned the positions. He’s learned everything and what that does, it frees you up so you can put Fred out there and you don’t have to worry. It allows you to match him up one on one if you like the match-up. There will be times whether it’s Malik [Dear] or Keith [Mixon], whoever it may be it just frees you up and allows you to do so many different things. We have multiple players to learn different positions. We try to teach all the players; we don’t teach the X-Y-Z, that is the secondary part. We usually circle one-two-three so you learn field one, field two and field three. That is part of the learning curve. If you can master that part you will go out and have a great performance. Fred is coming off a great campaign and we need him to have another big year.”

On what the impact of the redshirt freshmen can be…
“Keith [Mixon] had most explosive spring. I say explosive because he had big plays. At the same time, you have to remember we were minus a couple guys. Fred [Ross] didn’t go and Donald [Gray] was limited as we went through but I’m excited to see what he can do. You recruit these players and if you are fortunate enough some of them redshirt and get some time to really develop. Jones had a couple of big plays throughout spring and I always say the play doesn’t make player, the player makes the play and Jonnas [Spivey] had some short balls thrown to him that he was able to bring to the house. I’m excited if you look at the numbers. We don’t have a lot of players who have had receptions in games, but I have players that have played and some who have redshirted and hopefully understand the system and what we are here to do.

On Donald Gray extending the field…
“He’s strong. He has great explosiveness and is a fast young man. He has strong hands and he can lift 45 pound plates. They had a contest of who could hold them the longest and he won it hands down. He has great strength and he had 21 or 22 catches for us last year. He’s going to have a good year for us. When we start talking about players who need to step up, we have a lot that need to step up. Some are green but have knowledge and experience. We have to replace the production of the players that we lost. I need him to step up. We lost De’Runnya [Wilson], close to 1,000 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns, so we have to replace that. We might look a little different than we have but we are getting a chance to see players grow. You have to put your players in the best possible position to be successful. I am excited about the competition and we have a chance to come out and see some of these players make some plays.

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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