Q & A with Mike Rumph

Mike Rumph, the 49ers' first-round draft pick out of the University of the Miami, talks about being selected by the Niners, his college career and his goals of making an impact in his rookie NFL season.

 Q: The 49ers were very impressed with your strength and physical play at corner in college. How do you think that will fit in with their style of play?

 Rumph: (49ers secondary) Coach (Brett) Maxie went over a couple of things that they like to do in their schemes and that was almost perfect for a player like myself. I can play pretty physical, I can get in there on the run, and with the way they run their defense, that's a perfect scheme for me.

 Q: Why do you feel that you teammate Phillip Buchanon, who went to Oakland with the No. 17 pick of the first round, got more notoriety than you at cornerback in college?

 Rumph: That's true, but I feel like I was doing my job. Phil's a great athlete, a great player. I feel like what (Miami coaches) called upon me was to shut guys out. I became the guy that people didn't want to throw the ball against. I became a guy that made tackles and made plays, made something happen. Even though (Miami safety Ed Reed) and Phil got a lot of publicity, we all contributed to our success. So I'm not mad at all about that.

 Q: How did it affect your development playing in the same secondary with first-round picks such as Buchanon and Reed?

Rumph: It helped a lot. They were guys that, we hung out outside of football, and I knew how they were. So when certain things happened, I knew how to react. Sometimes, Phillip looked upon me to bring their game up, and sometimes I looked at them to bring my game up. So I think we kind of made ourselves better by watching each other play.

 Q: Is your speed good enough to play with the best in the NFL?

 Rumph: Oh, yeah. I ran track pretty much all my life through high school, I did two years in college. So all that physics stuff, that don't really matter. It's all about football speed. When you get on the field, that's when it really matters. So I feel like on the field, I'm a fast guy, and I never stop. I get to the ball.

 Q: Are you a talker on the field, or do you let your physical play speak for itself?

 Rumph: I talk a little bit, but I don't run off too much at the mouth. I go out there and just play football. If a guy is talking to me, I'm going to say something back to him. But a lot of times, through college, I found that people didn't say too much to me.

 Q: Are you excited about the idea of trying to become a starter, or are you happy coming in to be the nickel back to start your 49ers career?

 Rumph: It's all on them. Whatever they need me to do. That's what they drafted me for, so I'm pretty sure they have a good idea of what they need me to come in there and do. So that's what I'm going to do my best to do. If they want me to play, I'm going to come in there and try to play. If they want me to play nickel, I'm going to play nickel. Special teams, whatever. I'm ready to just come out there and play.

 Q: Are you aware of the high expectations in San Francisco?

 Rumph: I know how serious 49er football is. Just my feeling of being there in the town and seeing how serious it really is. They really put emphasis on beating the Rams and they want to be in the hunt for the big game. That's one of the reasons I really like this team.

 Q: When you talked with 49ers coaches, did they emphasize to you their desire to catch up with the Rams?

 Rumph: That was kind of funny, because every guy I talked to, they mentioned the Rams. The Rams always came up in every conversation. So I told them, I said, 'I feel like you all really need to beat the Rams.' And they said that's really the team that really hurt them in their conference.

 Q: Where do you get your toughness, and what drives you to your fierce level of play?

 Rumph: It's just that I've been through a lot. Adversity makes you a lot better. Through college I've had a lot of tough experiences. Through life, and I've learned to deal with that. My nature made me a hard-working person. I don't know exactly where it came from, but it's in my genes, in my nature. Everybody got their tough neighborhood, and I wasn't in it (growing up), but I wasn't too far from it. I could have went four blocks and got drugs and got in trouble, you know. It was right outside my door. I grew up in a neighborhood where it was pretty tough, and I had to just know right from wrong and know how to survive.

 Q: How much will it help you at this level to have played in a national championship program in college?

 Rumph: It's great, because a lot of coaches, they said they felt we were the University of Miami of the NFL. And if we're going to be the University of Miami of the NFL, that's a good place to be. I felt our program was way ahead of where a lot of college programs are. If the 49ers are the same way, there's no way we can be stopped.


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