<table align="left" bgcolor="#ffffff" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="775"> <tbody><tr><td valign="top" width="10">
</td> <td valign="top" width="635">2005's really, really big breakout star[font=verdana, arial, sans serif][size=-1]
Minnesota RB Laurence Maroney
[/size][/font][size=-1]Interview by[size=-1] Pete Fiutak
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This is a tough year to be a running back with hopes of winning big awards with players like Reggie Bush, DeAngelo Williams and Adrian Peterson to compete with. Even so, Minnesota junior Laurence Maroney is poised to make a huge splash after rushing[/size] for 2,469 yards and 22 touchdowns averaging 6.5 yards per carry in his first two seasons while [size=-1]splitting carries with Marion Barber III. Now that Barber left early for the NFL, Maroney will get more work and should put up huge numbers.
I was able to talk with Maroney for a few minutes after the Minnesota spring game. Standing on what is normally second base in the Metrodome while talking to him, I thought the interview was over before it started when I brought up the idea of winning the Heisman. He ran off, but he was joking around and came back. Also included are thoughts on Maroney from head coach Glen Mason and star center Greg Eslinger.
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[/size][/font][size=-1]CFN: With Marion Barber gone, does that mean you're going to get all the carries?[/size]
[size=-1]LM[/size][size=-1]: The coaches will use me a little bit more, but it's not going to be equal carries like me and Marion had. I might get more carries, but I'm not going to take on all his workload. They want to make sure I'm fresh too. The other guys are going to have to step up and show that they can take Marion's spot. It's not all the pressure on me like everyone thinks it'll be. I'm going to do what I do, and everyone else will do what they do. We'll still be explosive running the ball. [/size]
[font=verdana, arial, sans serif][size=-1] [size=-1]CFN: You're still only a junior, but are you looked at as the leader now? [/size]
[/size][/font] [font=verdana, arial, sans serif][size=-1] [size=-1]LM[/size][/size][/font][size=-1][font=verdana, arial, sans serif][size=-1]:[/size][font=verdana, arial, sans serif][size=-1] [/size][/font] [/size][/font][size=-1] [font=verdana, arial, sans serif][size=-1] Y[/size][size=-1]eah, it's crazy, but I'm having fun with it. I'm trying to get used to it after looking up to Marion, but it's what I've got to do. It's crazy having to be the one with responsibility and the one others are looking at, but it's my job now. I like to set the tone anyway and be that sort of a player, but it's something I'm going to have to deal with and get used to.[/size][/size][/font]
[size=-1]CFN: When did you know Marion was going to leave school early and how did he tell you? [/size]
[size=-1]LM[/size][size=-1]: Aw man ... we talk about everything, and then he slipped this one past me. It's cool, but the one time he doesn't talk to me and that was it. [/size]
[size=-1]CFN: Any part of you try to talk him out of it?[/size]
[size=-1]LM[/size][size=-1]: No, being the friend that I am, I'm not going to try to convince anyone to go against their wishes, but it's my job to be supportive. I'm going to miss him and things aren't going to be the same without him, but I'm happy for him. I asked him if he was ready to go off to the grown folks, and he said he was ready.[/size]
[size=-1]CFN: Now that you're going to get the ball more, are you doing anything differently to make sure you can handle the work?[/size]
[size=-1]LM[/size][size=-1]: Not really. There's nothing I have to do differently other than keep working like I've been working. I have to keep hitting the weights and keep making sure I can be in the best shape I can possibly be in. Whatever the coaches want me to do, I'll do. If they want to run me fifty times a game, I'll be able to handle it. If they want me to split carries with the other guys, I can handle it. I'm ready. [/size]
[size=-1]CFN: (note: Laurence sat out the spring game to rest a slight muscle pull, but he did come in for a trick play where he took a handoff and threw it to the mascot, Goldy Gopher.)
Are you feeling O.K.? There's nothing serious that's going to spring up this summer, is there?[/size]
[size=-1]LM[/size][size=-1]: No, no, no. Not at all. I'm fine, I'm just taking it easy today and not taking any chances. The coaches didn't want me to play just as a precaution, but I'm ready to go. Ready. Put me out there.[/size]
[size=-1]CFN: I guarantee that if you use that Goldy Gopher play against Michigan, it'll work. But you have to use the actual mascot out there.[/size]
[size=-1]LM[/size][size=-1]: It might. It might. He was wide open. I can certainly throw it if they need me to. I'll do anything that works.
[/size] Minnesota head coach Glen Mason and Maroney
CFN: Compare Laurence to other great Minnesota backs.
Glen Mason: Weâ€™ve had the luxury of having some great backs at Minnesota over the last several years. Laurence is bigger, faster, and stronger than all of them with the exception, as far as strength, as Darrell Thompson and Marion Barber the second, not the third. The one big difference is his speed. Great breakaway speed.
CFN: Are you going to use him more as a workhorse back now that Marion Barber III is gone, or is he going to split carries?
GM: A large part of that will be his durability. The question a year ago was how I was going to keep both backs happy, and as it turned out, they needed each other and complimented each other very well. Because of the ability of Maroney, we want to give him 75% of the workload, and then take Amir Pinnix, Gary Russell, or whomever, and give them the rest of the work.
CFN: What does Laurence need to work on?
GM: Not much. He has done a pretty good job so far. He has worked hard to get stronger, and itâ€™s noticeable. Heâ€™s a big human being. He came to use as a guy who was on the slim side, but he was pretty well put together. Heâ€™s not slim anymore.
Minnesota C Greg Eslinger on Maroney
Heâ€™s a unique back with a unique style. If you give Laurence a crack of daylight, heâ€™s gone. You know in the back of your mind that if you just give him a little bit of room, youâ€™ve got a chance for a huge play. Not many backs can do that.
Funny how I mention Purdue and scUM...and I was right, they beat them...I forgot about Wisky and PSU...they weren't supposed to be so good this year, lol.JonathanXC said:With scUM struggling, and the Purdue game at home...I think there is an outside chance this team is undefeated when we play them. Definitely a good chance they are ranked. We play an awfully tough road schedule this year.