When Reggie Hicks - a fullback out of Madison, MS - got to Ole Miss last summer, he realized he had a lot of work to do get acclimated to the college game, and more importantly the fullback position.
When he was told he was going to redshirt during the 2006 season, he said he had a choice of two paths to take.
"You can either start doubting yourself and question what you are doing wrong, which leads to complacency, or you can consider a redshirt an opportunity to get better," said Hicks. "I took the right path - the one where I wanted to use my time to get better."
Hicks looked at every aspect of his game and assessed the redshirt decision was best for him.
"I came in here with skills that were OK, but all I had to do was look around me and see I could be bigger, faster and stronger and the only way to do that was to work hard and use my time wisely," said Reggie. "I thought I needed all-around fine-tuning.
"I saw where I could improve everything. Learning plays, blocking, speed, strength, endurance and body size. You can improve everything when you are on the scout team because you are practicing against the first team and get the best look of what it takes to get on the field of anyone. I tried to make every aspect of my game better."
Did he accomplish what he set out to do? He believes he did.
"I feel so much stronger, faster and bigger. Overall, I think I did a good job of bettering myself," he continued. "I kind of knew what was facing me when I got here, but now I understand completely everything going on around me.
"For instance, I can look at film now and know exactly what I'm looking at - what went right and what went wrong. You know what to look for when you are watching film. Knowledge of the game is very important. Now, I can sit in the filmn room with Jason (Cook) or BenJarvus (Green-Ellis) and see the same things they do and dissect things the same way they do. When I first got here, I couldn't do that. Things were not so recognizable."
Hicks said it was exciting as a freshman fullback to get on the practice field and realize it was his job to block someone like Patrick Willis, who would be waiting for him in a hole.
"At first, you think you have to be Superman, but then you realize it's just football only the players are bigger and faster and better," he noted. "The biggest thing I learned was that I belonged on this level and that, even though it's a cliche', you have to bring it on every snap."
"Bringing it" is his main focus this spring.
"In college, there are separations in talent, but not as much as you'd think. The separation in college is who can do it the most the longest. In other words, who produces on every play? That's the separation in who plays and who doesn't in a lot of cases," he explained.
Hicks, who weighs in at 242 now after reporting last summer at 230, knows he is stronger, but he's anxious to get his max numbers later this spring.
"Coach (Aaron) Ausmus and his staff have done a great job with me in the weight room. When I first got here, I had weight, but it wasn't good weight. My core and legs were not as strong as they needed to be. Now, my legs are stronger and I can support more body weight while not losing speed," Hicks stated. "As far as my weight is concerned, I will continue to try to get bigger until I start losing speed. At this point, I hjve gained speed and not lost it at 242.
"When we run a 40 later this spring, i expect to be in the 4.6s."
Reggie believes he can push Cook for the starting fullback job this year.
"Jason has taught me a lot and I appreciate him, but I'm going to push him. That will make us both better. I feel I am prepared to take over at fullback when he leaves and my intentions are to get some plenty of opportunities to play next year," he closed.
Reggie Hicks update
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