Although it was a fairly good night, I still feel like I'm a work in progress. It would have been good to have experienced a more productive night running the football. I consider myself first of all a running back. That was my concentration in college and where so far I feel most comfortable. But I am happy to fill any role that the coaches here ask me to.
There's a lot left for me to accomplish before I feel I am playing up to my abilities at this level. Getting into the game a lot Thursday was a very comfortable situation for me because it's easier to concentrate and build a momentum. If you're coming in and out a lot, you can still learn but it tends to be more difficult to get into the flow of the game.
I love to be playing as much as possible. That's by far the best way to learn, especially if you happen to be a rookie. It's not at all tiring. Stamina has never been a problem. At NIU, I was running the ball maybe 30 plays a game without a problem.
If you are in and out all of the time, it can get distracting. Don't get me wrong, any time I can get on the field, I'm happy. But usually if you get a play then you're out for 20 or more plays, it isn't as effective somehow. The rhythm never gets properly established. Although you definitely learn while you are standing on the sideline, it makes a tremendous difference to actually be out there doing the work on a more consistent basis.
Having a succession of quarterbacks on the field is fine with me. I'm so busy concentrating on my job that it really has no effect on my personal play. It's all the same to me. You've got your assignment, and you do it. It doesn't matter who is handing the ball to you. You go out there and do what you have to do.
I'm definitely excited that the regular season is here at last. It all really counts now. This is what I've dreamed about for years. That feeling of stepping out on the field during the first regular game will be amazing. It doesn't get better than having the opportunity to do something that you've wanted to do for a very long time.
From now on, my emphasis will be on mental preparation. I am confident in my physical ability. I know that I wouldn't be here now if that weren't a given. I want my mind to be completely in each play of each game.
I've been asked how I feel about blocking players who outweigh me by a hundred pounds or more. It really isn't a problem. I have my assignment, and I just go out and do what I'm told to do. If I can stop the player from reaching my quarterback, then I know that I've done my job.
Granted, it can present a challenge having such a size difference between me and whoever I'm stopping. In some ways, my low center of gravity might be an advantage. I can almost become part of the grass. I can get in there pretty effectively. But if I get run over and nobody gets to the quarterback, it's all fine with me. It may not look as pretty as when Cedric Benson or Jason McKie put up their blocks, but if it works for me, I'm fine with the entire thing.
Thursday night, I was trying to show the coaches what I was capable of doing. Some plays worked fine, and I was able to get the first down. Other plays weren't as successful. They know this is something I am working on and that I will improve. This is a different role for me. Now I'm a change-of-pace guy instead of somebody who is called on 30 times a game just to carry the ball. If that's what I'm asked to do, then I'm ready to fulfill this new role.
There will always be questions about me now and even when I'm in year 10 of my NFL career. People question my overall size. But I am confident. Just look at the tapes of that Ohio State game, and you'll see what I can do.
I'm looking forward to this Sunday. Going on the field in that first regular season game will be something to remember.
This past weekend, I was honored to be asked to participate in a presentation on the field before the NIU-Iowa game. It means a lot to be remembered by your college and to know that they still want to be associated with you even after you have graduated. And in my heart, I will always be a Huskie. I think they are going to have a good season, and I look forward to watching them play.
Garrett Wolfe writes his Rookie Diary with longtime correspondent Beth Gorr every week exclusively for BearReport.com.
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