By Brad Locke
STARKVILLE – Floyd “Pork Chop” Womack is back in Starkville, where he starred as an offensive lineman for Mississippi State from 1997 to 2000. He then went on to enjoy a productive 10-year NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns.
Womack is back at MSU as a graduate assistant coach, helping with the offensive line. He’s enrolled in the Workforce Educational Leadership program (WEL).
Last week, Womack sat down with a handful of media members to talk about his return.
Q: What brought you back here?
FW: I love the smell of the grass. I love football. Being back at home is great. Coach (Dan) Mullen gave me an opportunity to come back and learn this game from the coaching side, so I’m excited about it.
Q: Did he contact you?
FW: I contacted him. I gave it a whirl on the high school level, and I really found out that I really, really missed it, so this is my opportunity to get on the college level.
Q: Back in your college days, you never mentioned coaching as an ambition.
FW: No. I never thought I would do this. I didn’t know. It’s almost like a calling. You sort of feel like you have a niche, and I feel like when I was in the league, I helped guys along the way when I was playing. It just felt natural to go and coach it.
Q: How big an advantage is it for this group to have Hevesy, you and student assistant Tobias Smith coaching them?
FW: No doubt about it. Coach Hevesy’s résumé by itself just speaks volumes. Then Tobias has been in this program for five, six years. And I’m learning from them guys. I’m learning from Tobias. The biggest thing for me, the transition for me from playing to coaching, is learning to teach. So now I’m learning from coach Hevesy, I’m learning from Tobias. … Everybody gains from this, but I think I’m really gaining the biggest, because I’ve played, but it’s a whole different world from playing to coaching.
Q: How much of your role is cheerleader for the younger players as they struggle to learn?
FW: I remember when I first came in, I thought I couldn’t do it. I tell them this story. When we had our first two-a-day practice, and I’m going against a junior, and I’m still using the chicken wing, where everybody else is using their hands. I remember falling flat to my face. I got discouraged. From that day on, and after that practice I called my mom, like, look, I don’t know if I can do this. It’s one of those things, you’ve just got to fight through it. And it’s tough.
Q: So now you’re thinking about your career.
FW: Oh yeah. For me, it’s like a full circle. I feel like my life really just started here at Mississippi State. So from here at Mississippi State to the league, now I’m back here again – not as a player, but as a coach.