Catching up with Mike Rumph

Rookie cornerback Mike Rumph, the Niners' first-round draft pick in April, talks with SFI about adjusting to life in the NFL and fitting in with the 49ers.


SFI: How are you enjoying your situation here with the 49ers? Has it been working out the way you expected?

Rumph: Personally, I don't think I could have went to a better organization. I say this over and over again: It's kind of like Miami. The atmosphere with the coaches. They're great coaches, and they do a good job of putting us all in the right places to make plays. And the team is a team that really, really wants to win. Whenever something doesn't go right, we all try to get together and figure out what went wrong and try to correct it.

SFI: How do you feel you're fitting in to the defensive scheme here?

Rumph: I feel like I'm fitting in good. I think I'm starting to get comfortable with my role. I do most of the special teams and come in on nickel and dime and some things right there (in coverage packages).

SFI: After all the success you had in college, is it difficult at all to come into the NFL and not go right into the starting lineup?

Rumph: Yeah, it's kind of hard, because I'm a competitive person. But everyone else here is competitive also. Nobody wants to be a backup. It's just something I have to do right now. That's part of the sacrifice of being in the NFL. You've got to do what the team needs you to do. And that's what I'm doing.

SFI: Do you feel like you've had some good opportunities to show what you can do on the field so far?

Rumph: I think the plays I've made have been under the circumstances where I wasn't really too comfortable, like the first few games. But I think now that I'm getting more comfortable playing a position and everything, I think I can do a little more now. I'm feeling a little more comfortable in my role now.

SFI: Have you felt much pressure from the expectations that come with being a first-round draft pick?

Rumph: Not really. I know I'm a first-rounder, and they expect a first-rounder to come in and impact the team in some kind of way. I'm doing whatever I can. When it happens, it happens. Sometimes I make something happen and sometimes I don't. I've talked to Andre Carter a lot. He said he had a slow start at first (last year) and then he got going. So he said it's just something where you have to be patient. Don't try to pressure yourself to do too much. Just do what you need to do and it will all work out.

SFI: Has this season gone along the lines of what you expected for the team so far?

Rumph: I expected this team to win games. I want to be a playoff contender and I want to be a contender for the Super Bowl. And that's what everybody's got in our heads - Super Bowl. But we've got to take it one game at a time. And then once we're finished with that, we go on to the next game. It's a long season.

SFI: What are your expectations for yourself the rest of the way?

Rumph: Personally, I just want to contribute to the team, and be known as a play-maker. That's pretty much it. I just want to be a guy that everybody in the league knows. ‘That guy, he makes plays, you have to careful around him.' Just kind of like I had in college.

SFI: Do you feel like you're living up to the reputation you brought with you from college so far?

Rumph: I think I am. It's weird, because it feels like, when I came in as a freshman in college, how everything gradually started working for me, you know, I started getting comfortable. It's almost the same exact thing.


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