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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Catching Up With... Danny Ware

Jeff Owens was the first Georgia player to launch his own blog, but he hasn't updated it in a few weeks. (He gets a little bit of a pass since it's finals week.) But since Jeff is on hiatus, there's another Dawg who is now in the blogosphere -- former Georgia running back Danny Ware.

Danny played three seasons at Georgia, leaving after his junior year for the NFL. He went undrafted, but eventually signed with the New York Giants, where he hopes to find some significant snaps this season out of the backfield.

I talked with Danny about his blog, his goals for next season and advice for his former teammates who are just now getting their first taste of life in the NFL. Here's what he had to say...

David Hale: You have a blog up now where you share your thoughts on life in the NFL. What inspired you to create the blog?

Danny Ware:
I just wanted to get the fans involved. A lot of people have heard of me but didn't know exactly what I was about. So I figured I'd start the blog and let them know exactly what was going on in my world and how hard I was working and what they could expect from me. If they had any questions, they could ask and I would get on and answer it. It was just a fun project.

DH: One of your most recent posts is about your quest to get on the field more now that Derrick Ward is gone. What have you been doing to get ready for the upcoming season?

I've just turned into an animal. I'm working hard non-stop. I'm doing extra running, going out and catching with Eli (Manning), our old quarterback David (Carr), Andre Woodson. Just working, in the playbook to make sure I know everything backwards and forwards, so when it's time to go into camp, I'm ahead of schedule. I just want to put myself in a position to go out there and excel.

DH: Coming out of college as an undrafted free agent, you've really had to work just to get noticed so far in your career. Has the hardest part of your NFL career just been trying to find that opportunity to show what you can do?

Yeah, it has, but I kind of like it a little bit -- being the underdog and nobody knowing who you are, not being drafted and working your way up. It shows character. I just put everything behind me in the past, and I'm just moving to the future now, going out there working hard and getting better every day. I think I had two good preseasons, but it's just been a numbers game. But it's all good now. I think I've got a little bit more room to work with and I'm hoping I'll come out there and compete just as hard as I did last year and even harder and give myself a chance to play in the regular season.

DH: Looking back now at how things unfolded, do you have any regrets about leaving Georgia early to go to the NFL?

I'm happy with the decision. I would have loved to have been drafted, but it didn't happen, and I'm not going to cry about it. I'm going to go out there and keep working and make my mark this way. This is really my opportunity to go out there and make myself known, let the world know who Danny Ware is and help the Giants win.

DH: You had a bunch of former teammates drafted last month, and a few others -- including your former backfield teammate, Brannan Southerland -- who will follow your route as an undrafted free agent. Have you talked to them yet or given them any advice on adjusting to life in the NFL?

I haven't talked to them, but I certainly want to. I've got to try to get Brannan's number, but I talk to Knowshon (Moreno) all the time. I talked to Matt (Stafford) when he was up here in New York the week before the draft in the city and everything. I just told them that it's a great life, but you've got to also work and understand that there's a lot of things that come with this great life. There's going to be a lot of people that will mooch off you, there's going to be people that try to break you down. You've got to look past all that and clear those people out of your life and concentrate on playing ball.

DH: I know you watched the team pretty closely last year. As an outside observer, was there anything that you noticed that would explain why the Bulldogs fell short of expectations last season?

It's always been kind of one of those things where we have a great team, and we have so many high expectations, and we have that one game or two games that just happen to slip by and everybody's just not on that same page. For some reason, you just don't know why it happens, but they've just got to get over that hump. Once they do that, I think they'll be playing for national championships.

DH: This year, things will certainly be a lot different for the Dawgs. You played with David Greene and then were there when D.J. Shockley finally got his chance to start. It's a little bit similar this year with Joe Cox taking over for Matthew. What does Joe need to do to find the same kind of success that D.J. did? Or was D.J. just always primed to be a starter and play as well as he did?

D.J. was always like that. He was always talking to you, making sure your head was in the game and you were staying focused. We knew he was going to go out there and do everything he could to help the team win, and he did. I'm pretty sure Joe Cox is going to do the same thing. I like Joe, he's a friend of mine, and I'm excited to see what he's going to do. I'm expecting great things out of him. He had a great career at Independent High School, and I think he's going to carry that over now.

DH: OK, back to the NFL. I grew up a huge Eagles fan, so I have a rooting interest in the NFC East. How do you see that division shaking out this year?

We've got to get through the first couple of games first. I couldn't even try to tell you that. I've got a couple of old teammates on the Eagles though -- Reggie (Brown) and Max (Jean-Gilles). I'd really like to play them. I've been up here for two years, but haven't had a chance to get in the games. I want to get a couple plays or a couple catches and finally get in the game against my old teammates.

DH: You play with a quarterback who was taken first overall in the draft and had some big expectations to live up to. Do you have any advice to pass along to Matthew now that he's in the same boat that Eli was a few years ago?

Matthew's a great athlete. All he's got to do is go out there and play ball like he was back in high school. That's all he's got to do, and everything else will happen.

DH: You said you've talked to Knowshon a bunch, too. What do you think will be the biggest adjustment for him in the NFL, and what kind of numbers do you think he can put up in his rookie season?

I think the hardest thing is going to be learning the protections and blocking the bigger guys that come with the NFL. They're a lot faster, a lot stronger, and they have a non-stop motor. In college, you've got guys who will lay down on certain plays. These guys up here come all day. It's going to be one of those things where he's got to know what he's doing, but I'm looking for big things out of him in Denver -- probably about 1,500 yards rushing in his rookie year.

DH: So how about you? Is 1,500 yards in your future this year as well? Should fantasy football owners have you down as a sleeper pick in 2009?

I'd definitely like to get 1,500 yards, about eight touchdowns, about another 800 yards receiving. But we'll see how that goes. I've got to be patient, but I'm definitely going to do my best to do that.

* Don't forget to check out Danny's blog at or find him on Twitter HERE.

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