Jared Hawkins, a redshirt senior tailback, enters his final year at Vanderbilt coming off a breakout season in 2008 where he rushed for a team-high 593 yards and also scored a career-high four touchdowns. He missed all of spring practice due to a foot injury sustained late in the regular season but looks to re-gain full strength in time for training camp in August. He talked about how he hopes to top last year’s output, his personal goals for the summer and the offensive line’s development over the past year.
On sitting out spring practice with a foot injury
It was really frustrating. I think the hardest days were at scrimmage days when the team was out there, all pumped up to be playing, and just having to sit on the sidelines. It was definitely a humbling experience. It was just hard. It’s never easy to be out whenever your team’s out there playing.
On how last year’s success motivates the team
I think a lot. I think if anything it just motivates us and gives us something to shoot for. We don’t want to finish up the way we finished last year. We want to do better than we did this past season. I think a lot of guys in some ways have more confidence going into the season that we are good enough to play in the SEC. I feel like that’s been the feeling for a long time, and we’re just excited about going into the year and having another great season.
On his personal goals for the summer
My personal goal right now is continuing to get my foot healthy. I’m doing a lot of rehab stuff in the training room, and just getting stronger and faster. I think getting back on the field and running and making sure that going into camp that I’m 100 percent and that I’m prepared for the season.
On surpassing last year’s offensive output
Definitely. I feel like I should have ended up with a lot more. I really wasn’t healthy for two games (Tennessee and Wake Forest). That’s two games I didn’t have to get some yardage, but I’m definitely going into the season trying to accomplish more than I did this past year.
On the importance of the offensive line all returning
I think it’s really important. I think our offensive line’s going to be better than they have in a long time. That’s always a good thing for a running back going in knowing that you’ve got a good offensive line blocking for you. Those guys did great last season, but I feel like they’re going to do a lot more than they did this past season and they’re going to be a lot better.