Rebel backup Fullback Andy Hartmann, a true sophomore, probably wouldn't want to hear this, but he's a throwback to the days of Jim Taylor and other bruising fullbacks of yester year.
Hartman, a 5-10 1/2, 235-pounder from Cooper City, FL, who walked on the Rebel team last summer, hasn't found a job too tough or too menial for him as he tries to make a statement for Ole Miss.
"I'll do whatever," the soft-spoken and polite Hartmann said. "I just want to play."
Hartmann popped up last year out of "nowhere" as a true freshman, showing up on the kickoff return team as a bruising lead blocker. He left Rebel fans asking "who is number 43?"
As the year progressed, and starting FB Jason Cook sustained an injury or three, Andy became the starting FB in a couple of games and performed admirably.
After spring of 2007, he emerged as the backup to Cook again.
"I have just followed Jason's lead. I do what the coaches ask me to and do what Jason's tellsme I need to do," said Hartmann. "Jason sets an example for me on and off the field. His GPA is high and he's one of the strongest players on the team in the weight room. He knows every defense and helps me out with my reads.
"That's very valuable to a young player and I appreciate him."
Hartmann, who appeared to be headed for UConn until Rebel OL Coach Art Kehoe came around to his high school and Hartmann opted to play "in the best league," is known as a bruiser. A guy who would rather run over a defender than around them, the loudest sound he usually makes is the crack of his pads colliding with a defender he is assigned to block.
"I'm not where I want to be yet in my progress, but I think I have made strides. I'm working with Coach (Aaron) Ausmus to pick up on my speed and quickness and I have gotten a lot stronger, so I'm getting there, but I have work to do," he explained. "I have gained 25 pounds to 325 in the power clean and I feel a lot faster than the 4.75-4.8 I ran in high school."
Andy said he's "kind of short" and went to a small school, which could explain his lack of recruitment out of American Heritage HS in Plantation, FL, but he doesn't think about that much any more.
"I'm here and I'm getting on the field, so I guess I'm doing something right," said Andy, whose goal is to get to 245-250 pounds in time.
Hartmann is trying to define his role on the 2007 team now.
"I want to get on more special teams and help Jason out whenever he needs it. That's my goal," he noted. "I don't want to get in like I did last year by him getting hurt, so I want to make room on special teams for more reps."
Andy said he's comfortable now in the Rebel offensive system, but there is some technique work he needs to do to refine his play.
"I mostly ran the ball in high school so blocking all the time is new to me. I'm willing to stick my head in there in any situation, but you have to know how to block guys in the SEC to be effective," said Hartmann. "The speed and size of the athletes in this league is unreal and you have to be at the top of your game to be successful.
"I'm willing to work hard and put everything into it. If you don't, and you take a day off or a play off, these guys will make you look bad."
Andy loves the contact part of football.
"I'd rather run over someone than make them miss. The contact part of football is what I thrive on," he closed. "You can say I'm a throwback, that's fine, but I just think I'm a hard-nosed football player and I will continue to be."
Linebackers and safeties of the SEC beware when #43 is in the Rebel lineup.
That's Andy Hartmann coming around the corner looking to light you up.
Andy Hartmann update -
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