Alan Abrams, a rising sophomore running back on the Ole Miss football team, hit campus two years ago with prep credentials as long as his arm.
He showed immediately that he would be a 'player' for the Rebs sometime in the future. He thinks the future is now, beginning with the 2005 season.
"I needed to go through the SEC one time to learn what it was all about and see what I need to do to get the job done and to excel. I did that in 2004, a year where I had some ups and downs but learned a lot," Abrams, a soft-spoken, polite young man, stated. "Now I know and I'm doing everything possible to put myself in a position to start in the fall."
Alan may have gotten a little help he didn't want in that journey when returning starter Vashon Pearson was declared academically ineligible for the 2005 season, thus ending his collegiate career, last month.
"I don't want to move up the ladder that way. Before V.P. was dismissed, I already had the attitude of trying to beat him and Jamal (Pittman) out. I'm sure they felt and feel the same way," said Abrams, who gained 275 yards on 59 carries for a 4.9 yards per carry average. "Since spring training, I have been trying to work on the things that would put me in position to start."
Abrams was having a "good" spring until he rolled his ankle and missed the last two weeks.
"I needed those reps in practice. That set me back some, but I am determined not to let it hold me back this fall," he continued. "I feel I have something to contribute and I want to show the Ole Miss people the real Alan Abrams this year."
Abrams said he got his eyes opened last season, his first actual playing time in the SEC.
"You can practice all you want, but until you get in a game you don't really understand the speed of the game in our league," Abrams commented. "No matter who you play, you better come to the game with your mind right and ready to roll. If you take a play off, you are headed for trouble in this league. If there is one thing I learned last year, it is to concentrate on every play."
Spring training was a valuable lesson for Abrams as well.
"I learned this system fits my style, I believe," said Alan. "When we are running zone plays, it allows me the opportunity to use my vision and cutting ability, which are my strengths. I also like the way RBs get more opportunities to get the ball in different areas and to catch the ball more out of the backfield.
"I like any offense that works to get you in the open field or in one-on-one situations, and this one does that."
He also learned what he needs to improve on.
"I got better the last two years in pass protection, but I still have work to do in that area," he noted. "I also need to be more patient in running the zone plays - you have to let things develop before making your move. And all of us can use more general knowledge of the offense."
In the offseason, Abrams has been working hard in the weight room, has watched a lot of film and is trying to make himself a big part of the offense in volunteer passing drills. He feels he's benefitted in all areas.
"I'm definitely in good shape and am stronger. I have learned a lot in film study about my assignments," he concluded. "And the volunteer workouts have helped me gain the trust of our quarterbacks. They know if they throw it my way I will make the catch and do something with the ball that is positive."
Abrams' aim is improvement
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