Something to Prove

IRVING, Tex. - In 2006, former N.C. State linebacker Oliver Hoyte went through his first NFL mini-camp with the Dallas Cowboys. The ex-Wolfpacker had gone undrafted but signed a free agent deal with America's Team.

Hoyte impressed then-Dallas head coach Bill Parcells with his work ethic and he ended up making the Cowboys' opening day roster.

But it wasn't as a linbacker. Strangely enough, Parcells saw enough of Hoyte to think he could move to the offensive side of the ball- to fullback.

The move worked and this year, he entered Dallas' first mini-camp as the starting blocking back. recently caught up with him and here's what he had to say.

"At this time last year, I was in a room with about 20 linebackers and was in the back of the room," Hoyte recalled. "You sit in the order of your depth and there I was, in the back of the room. I knew that I had my work cut out for me. I just went out there, kept playing ball and made the team. Midway through the season, they moved me to fullback and here I am. I begin the season as the starting fullback and have to keep my job."

Hoyte remembers the exact moment when he knew that he had made the Cowboys.

"After the second preseason game last year when I had four tackles on special teams, Bill Parcells pulled me aside and told me to call home and tell my mom that I was the first member of the 2006 Dallas Cowboys," he stated. "I didn't know how much to put into that because I didn't know him that well and thought he might have just been talking. I only had four tackles on playoff coverage and thought it wasn't a big deal. But he was true to his word. I made the team and stayed on the team all year long."

Midway through his rookie season, Parcells felt that Hoyte might better serve his team at fullback and the switch was on to a spot he hadn't played at in some time.

"I played it early on in high school," he said. "I haven't played it since then. As of right now, I am just a fullback, not a linebacker."

Even though Oliver is fully entrenched into the life of an NFL player, his time in Raleigh is never far from his mind.

"A couple of guys came out for the draft this year that were there when I was there and that's when it hit me how fast time flies," Hoyte said. "When I was there, we didn't always have a great year, but it was still a great experience."

He also recalls what drew him to play for the Wolfpack in the first place.

"The biggest thing for me was that I didn't want to go somewhere and sit watching other people play," Hoyte stated. "I wanted to play right away. They showed me a depth chart and I saw that there was only one guy there (at linebacker). I knew that competing with one guy instead of 10 guys gave me a chance to play right away."

During the offseason, Parcells retired, but Hoyte is never quick to forget the impact that the veteran coach had on him.

"No matter how well I did, he always told me never to relax," Hoyte said. "He influenced my life in that one year more than anyone ever has in my entire lifetime. He's a great motivator."

Not soon after Parcells left, Dallas hired Wade Phillips as its new coach and Hoyte has already noticed several big differences between the coaches.

"It (the atmosphere) is a lot looser (under Phillips)," he said. "Bill (Parcells) was a more in-your-face type of guy. Wade (Phillips) is more laid-back, will let you do your thing and be a professional about it. Bill was all about you being a professional, but would always be there to give you a nudge."

But no matter who is coaching him, Hoyte's goals for 2007 remain the same.

"I just want to be the full-time fullback and stay that way," he said. "That's my first goal but I also want to help my team any way that I can, whether that is on special teams, blocking or catching balls out of the backfield, I'll do it. We want to run the ball. If the fullback can get in there and get the job done, then he will be in there."

In his second NFL season, former NC State star Oliver Hoyte has not only made a nice adjustment to life in the pros but he is doing it at a new position-the starting fullback for Dallas. Look for him to be an integral part of their ground-based attack this season. Top Stories