Ebell: "Ready to Roll"

Tyler "Mighty Mouse" Ebell said he's ready to take on the roll of the exciting gamebreaker on the team, on offense and on punt return duties...

Coach Toledo said you were nicked up in spring and that kept them from putting in some of the things they want to do for you in the offense...

"I had a concussion. On pass blocking I got bullrushed by Audie Attar. I didn't really see it coming and I kind of got blew up. It's fine now. It was kind of toward the beginning of spring practice, and then I was better and came back, but they still wanted to keep me out. I'm fine now and ready to roll."

What kinds of things are they instituting for you in the offense?

"They're going to put in some plays for me out of the backfield. Motion me out to the slot, maybe do some things from there. Then as a punt returner. I have to work on catching punts. I've had some problems, but I've been working on it."

Why do you think you've had problems catching punts?

"I never did punt returns before. I did kickoffs, but punts are kind of different. I'm getting used to it. It's a different kind of ball to catch. A different rotation altogether. But I worked really hard over the summer. Caught a lot of punts. I'm sure I'll be nervous the first time I'm out there at the Rose Bowl catching a punt, but it's going to be fine."

What do you think you can do returning punts?

"Bring some excitement. Punt returns are great opportunities to make some yards, set up the offense so that it's in good field position, and even score. If you make a good punt return it also gets the team excited, and the offense is then going in and they're pumped. So I think it's huge."

What do you see as your role on this year's team?

"Hopefully I'll be one of the utility men on this team. Hopefully I'll be a game breaker. To get in there and do what I do. Make something exciting happen. I think I have a chance to come into the game and bring a different skill to it. But that's what it's all about. Having different guys who can make plays."

Have you gotten bigger physically?

"I've gained a little bit of weight, but I'm not really concerned with how much I weigh, and no one needs to know how much I weigh [laughing]. Mighty Mouse [the tattoo on Ebell's arm] is stretching out a little bit. I'm a little bit bigger. Over the summer I worked on getting faster and a little bigger."

What specifically did you do to increase your speed?

"I did all the conditioning stuff at UCLA, and then I also did fast twitch training. That was in Valencia, at a facility. It's working on your fast-twitch muscles. It's hard to explain. They hook you up to computers and they measure how much force you're generating. It's pretty cool. Manuel White does it. He turned me on to it."

Who do you think is poised to have big years on the team?

"Matt Ware, I think, will have a big year. Ricky Manning. I think Cory will be very good. And the whole offensive line I think is going to be really good. I think the running backs will be pretty good. We all bring such different things to the table, and we're really deep."

What do you think of the fairly low expectations by the media for the team this season?

"I think it's fine that they're low, but I think we'll be a better team than everyone thinks. They haven't really seen this team, the talent, and how hard everyone's worked. There were a lot of stars last season and they think if we lose all those names we must be down. But there's still a lot of talent. A lot of unsung heroes right now that haven't proved themselves as superstars yet. But we're going to have a good football team."


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