Rawls Feeling Pressure Free (Part 1, w/video)

Michigan sophomore running back, Thomas Rawls met with the media Sunday to discuss fall camp and the 2012 season. In part one of this part interview the bruising tailback recaps his injury setback last season, his growth as a player, his role on this year's team, and more. **With Video**

Question: This year, with Toussaint being out, do you feel that your role as a runningback is to step in and be the leader?

Thomas Rawls: “Well, as a Michigan running back, the role is playing a Michigan running back. That’s just for any running back back there. We have good running backs. Justice Hayes, Vincent Smith, and guys like that, who are working hard, and basically, the role is whoever is in the back field is going to play like a Michigan running back and run hard, and feels the same way I am.”

Question: Do you guys all offer something different, or…just talk about the different styles….

Thomas Rawls: “The one thing about Michigan running backs is that we all have toughness, you know? All of our running backs are tough, and fast, and have a mean mentality.”

Question: How do you differentiate your game from, say, Vincent, or…?

Thomas Rawls: “Well, my game is more downhill, and things like that, but we’re all kind of similar because we’re versatile. Everyone’s going to lower their shoulder. That’s where the toughness comes in as a Michigan running back.”

Question: Is there a different energy in camp seeing your week one matchup?

Thomas Rawls: “No, it doesn’t matter who’s on the schedule. We’re going to play hard and work hard against any team, every week.”

Question: Coach Jackson said you might have gotten more reps last year if it wasn’t for your shoulder energy. How much of a setback was that for you last year?

Thomas Rawls: “It was a major setback, but that’s just the game of football, you know? Injuries are going to occur and things like that, but I didn’t give up, and I’m as healthy as ever.”

Question: How did it happen?

Thomas Rawls: “I was taking the stretch play, and Mike Jones came in from the side and kind of drove me into the ground. It was just football; just playing football. As a freshman, you know, you’re reading the plays a lot, and you’re going to have some difficulties with it, because you’re new to the game – to the next level, which is college division one football, so I learned that. So it was basically a learning experience.”

Sam Webb: Talk about your journey from last year to this year, because they said that you were really killing it in last fall’s camp. Do you feel like you’re doing as well thus far in this camp, or is it better?

Thomas Rawls: “Well you know, I think I’m doing better at this camp, because last year I was a freshman, you know? I was just coming in just running, and just trying to show the coaches too much, but now it’s more that I’m having fun with it. I’m still learning the game from our veteran players like Fitzgerald Toussaint and Vincent Smith. They’re still teaching me those shortcuts and things like that; the ins and outs of everything. So with those guys around me, I have to improve, especially with the competition at the running back position.”

Sam Webb: You said you’re more comfortable, but how does that manifest itself on the football field? Are you more patient? Do you see cuts better?

Thomas Rawls: “Yeah, because last year I was just running with the ball, and just being physical, but now my game has changed where I can read holes better; I can see the cutback lanes; I know when to drop my shoulder; you know? That’s how I had my shoulder injury. I was always just trying to collide. But now I know when to lower my shoulder, and I know when to elude; things like that.”

Sam Webb: Do you think guys underestimate your speed?

Thomas Rawls: “The people who don’t know me, and have never really seen me practice or play, I think they underestimate me. You know, I have really good speed to be my size, and my physical toughness of a runner.”


The Michigan Insider Top Stories

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[MEDIA:556347]
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Question: This year, with Toussaint being out, do you feel that your role as a runningback is to step in and be the leader?

\r\n

Thomas Rawls: “Well, as a Michigan running back, the role is playing a Michigan running back. That’s just for any running back back there. We have good running backs. Justice Hayes, Vincent Smith, and guys like that, who are working hard, and basically, the role is whoever is in the back field is going to play like a Michigan running back and run hard, and feels the same way I am.”

\r\n

Question: Do you guys all offer something different, or…just talk about the different styles….

\r\n

Thomas Rawls: “The one thing about Michigan running backs is that we all have toughness, you know? All of our running backs are tough, and fast, and have a mean mentality.”

\r\n

Question: How do you differentiate your game from, say, Vincent, or…?

\r\n

Thomas Rawls: “Well, my game is more downhill, and things like that, but we’re all kind of similar because we’re versatile. Everyone’s going to lower their shoulder. That’s where the toughness comes in as a Michigan running back.”

\r\n

Question: Is there a different energy in camp seeing your week one matchup?

\r\n

Thomas Rawls: “No, it doesn’t matter who’s on the schedule. We’re going to play hard and work hard against any team, every week.”

\r\n

Question: Coach Jackson said you might have gotten more reps last year if it wasn’t for your shoulder energy. How much of a setback was that for you last year?

\r\n

Thomas Rawls: “It was a major setback, but that’s just the game of football, you know? Injuries are going to occur and things like that, but I didn’t give up, and I’m as healthy as ever.”

\r\n

Question: How did it happen?

\r\n

Thomas Rawls: “I was taking the stretch play, and Mike Jones came in from the side and kind of drove me into the ground. It was just football; just playing football. As a freshman, you know, you’re reading the plays a lot, and you’re going to have some difficulties with it, because you’re new to the game – to the next level, which is college division one football, so I learned that. So it was basically a learning experience.”

\r\n

Sam Webb: Talk about your journey from last year to this year, because they said that you were really killing it in last fall’s camp. Do you feel like you’re doing as well thus far in this camp, or is it better?

\r\n

Thomas Rawls: “Well you know, I think I’m doing better at this camp, because last year I was a freshman, you know? I was just coming in just running, and just trying to show the coaches too much, but now it’s more that I’m having fun with it. I’m still learning the game from our veteran players like Fitzgerald Toussaint and Vincent Smith. They’re still teaching me those shortcuts and things like that; the ins and outs of everything. So with those guys around me, I have to improve, especially with the competition at the running back position.”

\r\n

Sam Webb: You said you’re more comfortable, but how does that manifest itself on the football field? Are you more patient? Do you see cuts better?

\r\n

Thomas Rawls: “Yeah, because last year I was just running with the ball, and just being physical, but now my game has changed where I can read holes better; I can see the cutback lanes; I know when to drop my shoulder; you know? That’s how I had my shoulder injury. I was always just trying to collide. But now I know when to lower my shoulder, and I know when to elude; things like that.”

\r\n

Sam Webb: Do you think guys underestimate your speed?

\r\n

Thomas Rawls: “The people who don’t know me, and have never really seen me practice or play, I think they underestimate me. You know, I have really good speed to be my size, and my physical toughness of a runner.”

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Question: This year, with Toussaint being out, do you feel that your role as a runningback is to step in and be the leader?

Thomas Rawls: “Well, as a Michigan running back, the role is playing a Michigan running back. That’s just for any running back back there. We have good running backs. Justice Hayes, Vincent Smith, and guys like that, who are working hard, and basically, the role is whoever is in the back field is going to play like a Michigan running back and run hard, and feels the same way I am.”

Question: Do you guys all offer something different, or…just talk about the different styles….

Thomas Rawls: “The one thing about Michigan running backs is that we all have toughness, you know? All of our running backs are tough, and fast, and have a mean mentality.”

Question: How do you differentiate your game from, say, Vincent, or…?

Thomas Rawls: “Well, my game is more downhill, and things like that, but we’re all kind of similar because we’re versatile. Everyone’s going to lower their shoulder. That’s where the toughness comes in as a Michigan running back.”

Question: Is there a different energy in camp seeing your week one matchup?

Thomas Rawls: “No, it doesn’t matter who’s on the schedule. We’re going to play hard and work hard against any team, every week.”

Question: Coach Jackson said you might have gotten more reps last year if it wasn’t for your shoulder energy. How much of a setback was that for you last year?

Thomas Rawls: “It was a major setback, but that’s just the game of football, you know? Injuries are going to occur and things like that, but I didn’t give up, and I’m as healthy as ever.”

Question: How did it happen?

Thomas Rawls: “I was taking the stretch play, and Mike Jones came in from the side and kind of drove me into the ground. It was just football; just playing football. As a freshman, you know, you’re reading the plays a lot, and you’re going to have some difficulties with it, because you’re new to the game – to the next level, which is college division one football, so I learned that. So it was basically a learning experience.”

Sam Webb: Talk about your journey from last year to this year, because they said that you were really killing it in last fall’s camp. Do you feel like you’re doing as well thus far in this camp, or is it better?

Thomas Rawls: “Well you know, I think I’m doing better at this camp, because last year I was a freshman, you know? I was just coming in just running, and just trying to show the coaches too much, but now it’s more that I’m having fun with it. I’m still learning the game from our veteran players like Fitzgerald Toussaint and Vincent Smith. They’re still teaching me those shortcuts and things like that; the ins and outs of everything. So with those guys around me, I have to improve, especially with the competition at the running back position.”

Sam Webb: You said you’re more comfortable, but how does that manifest itself on the football field? Are you more patient? Do you see cuts better?

Thomas Rawls: “Yeah, because last year I was just running with the ball, and just being physical, but now my game has changed where I can read holes better; I can see the cutback lanes; I know when to drop my shoulder; you know? That’s how I had my shoulder injury. I was always just trying to collide. But now I know when to lower my shoulder, and I know when to elude; things like that.”

Sam Webb: Do you think guys underestimate your speed?

Thomas Rawls: “The people who don’t know me, and have never really seen me practice or play, I think they underestimate me. You know, I have really good speed to be my size, and my physical toughness of a runner.”

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