Manuel Ramirez: That's the first time I've ever even gotten 40 reps. Just the adrenaline and knowing the type of competition that I was going to be up against with all the other linemen there and not knowing the type of numbers they were going to throw up, I just tried to go in and do my best and just be myself.
ET: Justin Blalock from Texas also put up 40 reps; did you know that before you did yours?
MR: Yes, I actually talked to Blaylock right before I wentm, and he was actually telling me not to embarrass him. It's a great feeling, the type of player he is, just knowing that I had the privilege to be alongside those types of players.
ET: So you were up to 40, how bad did you want that 41?
MR: Truthfully, not being cocky, just being confident, if I didn't have to go
through surgery and got the training I could have gotten, I would've broken 50
ET: Other than the knee injury did you have any other problems in college, where you missed games due to injury?
MR: Actually I missed one game my senior season against Iowa State. The only reason I missed that one was because I strained my MCL in my left knee two days before the game. They were just being smart about it and getting me ready for the following week. But that's the only reason I missed. It didn't keep me from playing or practicing the following week.
ET: You are also well-known for having a great work ethic and attitude out there. Where does that come from in your background Manny?
MR: My mother and father taught me how to work for everything I wanted. Football has given me the opportunity to get away from the type of background I come from and to get an education. That just drove me a lot more. Especially now that I'm married and about to have a family, it's just a lot of motivation to keep pushing for everything that you want. When you have big dreams you have to dream big - you've got to give it all you've got.
ET: I know coming out of high school, you were one of the top rated centers in the country. Was guard a better fit for you now that you look back at your college career?
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ET: Now this is unique. You called the blocking schemes from the guard position the last couple years?
MR: Yes, the past few years I did call the majority of it for the simple fact that we had a new center and I was the most experienced on the line. So I took it upon myself that I would make the majority of the calls just to get us on that fast pace, because basically right off the bat the first series of all our games was already the two-minute offense the entire game. So it was important for us to get on a roll real quick.
ET: Based on one stat I saw, it said you only gave up two sacks this past year. Does that sound right to you?
MR: Yes, I thought it was 1.5, but two is okay. I take a lot of pride in keeping my linebacker or lineman off the quarterback. I think it's kind of nice, especially since we pass the ball so much -- I think we had 700 pass attempts -- to just give up two sacks. It's still a good number.
ET: Tell me what strengths you will bring to an NFL club as a run blocker…
MR: A lot of teams think that's a flaw of mine because of the type of offense I come from. But I think I was given an opportunity to prove them wrong at the Senior Bowl. Just being the type of player I am, really aggressive, the running game is where my passion is at for the game. I love running the ball. Yes, I was pulled away from it for five years with Texas Tech's offense, but that's where my heart is at. I love being able to get out there, get on people and move them out of the way and just grind them into the ground. Being able to get back into that type of offense, I'm going to have a great time. Being back on a team that runs the ball and being able to run block, it's going to be like being a little kid in a candy store.
ET: I know you're a vocal guy out there who inspires your teammates and also a guy who pulls them up when they need it. How's that going to translate into the NFL as a rookie? Do you think you're going to have to reel that in a little bit?
MR: Yes, just for the simple fact that I'm going to be a rookie, I'm going to
do whatever it takes to get as comfortable as fast as possible. I'm the type of
player that communicates with his offensive linemen. I don't know how much they
communicate, but that's going to be a big part for me because that's what I do.
I feel comfortable really quickly and if you're able to communicate with your
offensive linemen, most the time you'll be on the same page and there won't be
many mess-ups. I'm more of the type to lead by example, but there are times when
I speak up and get the adrenaline going real quick. The type of offense we ran
at Tech was fast paced, so I'm going to try to take that to the next level.
|A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the Scout.com network and syndicated through FoxSports.com's NFL team pages.|