Like the Cougar which represents his college team, NFL fullbacks are an endangered species. NFL fullbacks now have to be incredibly versatile. Manase Tonga (FB, BYU) can run the ball, blocks well, and catches the ball like its second nature. “I feel really comfortable catching the ball out of the backfield. It’s one of my biggest strengths.” Cougars can kill prey over seven times their size, which would also come in handy for the 5-11 fullback.
When Tonga isn’t working on improving his forty time, which he thinks will be real good, or shuttle-run skills, Manase is dreaming about blocking for Frank Gore. “I really like his explosiveness. He’s physical, but has the speed to work outside. He knows how to follow his blocks real well.”
To get into the mind of the beast, Tonga took us through a hypothetical run-call on 2nd down and 8. “My fain focus is on identifying the guy I’m going to block. Once that happens, I focus on getting there fast and beating him to the spot. I’ve got to explode my hips, get the linebacker out of the way, and make room for the running back to work.”
It’s obvious that Manase Tonga is a fierce competitor, and just like his school’s mascot, in staying versatile he has adapted nicely to his environment.
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