Fullback Likes The Look Of ASU's New OL and RB's

Mike Karney is not only considered the best fullback in the Pac-10, but perhaps one of the elite in his position nationwide. However, if you think for a minute that the junior is resting on his laurels, you are greatly mistaken. In this interview, this tireless competitor talks about his approach to the game, and gives his assessment of the inexperienced offensive players around him.

Devils Digest: How's spring practice going so far?

Mike Karney: It's going by fast. We're really coming together as a group. We got one year under our belt with this staff, and it's going good. Just like last year we have three quarterbacks dueling it out (smile), but we'll get through that as an offense.

DD: You mentioned having the one year under the new staff. Do you feel that this spring the coaches are spending more time implementing the system, and less teaching it?

MK: I think it's a little of both. Last year it was definitely more teaching, and this year it's more implementing but still going over the basics. Right now our individual drills are more about technique and fundamentals.

DD: As the fullback on this team, it looks like you're gonna have all new players around you at quarterback, running back, and offensive line. Do you feel that as one of the veterans on offense you'll have to step up your play this year?

MK: When it comes to the experience on offense, it is a lot different compared to last year. For me it's just a matter of being consistent and making my blocks. I'm just gonna do what I have to do, and I think everybody around me will do their job too. If all that happens, we'll be just as good last year. The biggest thing for the guys around me is the experience, and I hope they can feed off my own experience.

DD: You lineup every practice behind the offensive line, how are they looking so far for being such a new group?

MK: They're looking good. I gotta give it to them, they're working hard. This whole summer of working out with the conditioning program…they'll be ready come August.

DD: Speaking of working out, does someone with your build need to go to the weight room in the off-season (smile)?

MK: Oh yeah (smile). I got some weaknesses I need to work on. I love that weight room. It's a place I can't leave…It's a great facility.

DD: I know you're a humble person, but do you feel that you starting position is even slightly threatened?

MK: I look at it (the starting position) as something that can be taken away at any time. I really try to stay on top of my game, and I have no problem critiquing myself when I watch film. Even if the coach said a play looked good all that matters to me is what I think of the play. It's not enough for someone to tell me that I look good. In my mind, I'm continuously trying to look better. I want to be the best fullback around. If I continue to work hard on my fundamentals and technique, I can get to where I want to be.

DD: How would you assess the fairly new group of running backs?

MK: Oh, they're fun to block for. A lot of fun talent. We got explosive talent in Mike, Hakim, and Cornell. They'll just continue to bloom, and I'm real excited about their future.

DD: What are you're trying to achieve in spring practice?

MK: Just staying on top of my game, making sure I make my blocks, making sure I catch the ball. Just doing everything I need to make this offense run well. I don't care if I catch the ball every down, or block every down. Whatever it takes to put a "W" in the win column.

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