With how we ended the season last year, it is hard not to get excited about 2018. We were on the verge of being the team to beat last season. Instead, we became that team every team barely beat. Thinking about that makes me want to train harder to make sure we come out on the right side of close games next season.
During the offseason, people like to ask all sorts of things. They often want to know how I’m doing, what happened last year, and what we’re going to do next year.
As for me-- I’m feeling good. Feeling a lot stronger now than I did this time last year. So that’s obviously a positive. With the way we finished last year I am looking forward to a big year, not only for me but the team. We had a lot of close games and ended up on the wrong side of too many of them. I’m training hard to make sure that doesn’t happen again this year.
Last year, with new coaches, I wanted to prove a point and show them why I’m the guy; that I am the guy. So, I pushed myself a little bit too much I feel like. I’m just trying to be smarter this time.
I can’t help the team if I do something foolish while training and get hurt. But at the same time, as the leader in the running back room, I have to set the example.
I’ve been that guy before, obviously in college. I’ve been fortunate to have some great mentors showing me how it’s done. Danny (Woodhead), he kind of showed me the ropes. Branden Oliver too. BO showed great leadership in different ways. You take notes from those guys when you’re in that position because everybody was a young guy at some point. And you’re an older guy at some point as well. So, you take notes from the older guys, so you know how to handle it when you’re the oldest guy in the room.
I don’t just want to set the example. I have to get my body ready to be a bell-cow back this season. My touches have gone up every year. If the coaches see fit for that to be the case again, my body will be ready.
Of course, if they want a committee approach, that fine too. I don’t have a problem sharing touches. I used to share with James White. We split carries literally down the middle. But it’s fun to be the main guy too. During my last year at Wisconsin, I got a taste of what it feels like to be the workhorse back and I enjoyed it. When you get to the second half of the game, you run that run three or four times. I know where to hit it. When you’re switching, it’s hard to get in a rhythm.
It will undoubtedly be a lot easier to run the ball with a guy like Mike Pouncey clearing a path for me. When I heard he was going to be a free agent—man, I was so happy about that! I hit him up before we signed him. I said, ‘Bro, come through bro! Come block for my man!’
I hear nothing but good things about him as far as leadership. One of the biggest things I’ve heard is he’s a dog. He’s nasty. I like that more than anything. I’m excited to work with him, get that feel for him. I know Phil’s excited about him, too.
Most importantly, we can—and will -- win games.