From the time they declare for the NFL Draft, the questions are endless. Scouts, coaches and the media want to know everything they can about future NFL stars.
During last week’s Senior Bowl, Stanford product Owen Marecic was asked about the current state of fullbacks in the NFL. Specifically, have they become a niche role in the League?
Marecic, who won the inaugural Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s best two-way player for his exploits at fullback and linebacker, didn’t spend too much time getting introspective.
“It could be,” he said, “but I have a lot of work before I ever get to that stage. I’m trying to keep my head down, stay focused and try to improve the most I can this week against some of the best kids in the country.”
The sound bite offers a real glimpse of the 6-foot, 246 pounder’s mindset. He’s all business all the time. It’s not about interviews or limelight. To him, football is about preparation, physicality and execution.
In essence, Marecic is a throwback player, one that could have thrived in any era of professional football.
Going back to the line of questioning, Marecic was later asked how he was utilized in the Cardinal offense.
“Just like a football player,” he answered in a true old school fashion. “I had a responsibility and I was supposed to take care of that for the team.”
Marecic later spoke glowingly of the man who he performed for, his former coach and current 49ers head man Jim Harbaugh.
“He really inspired the team,” Marecic recalled of the coach who pushed him to work every day. “He made everybody better. On a day-to-day basis, he made them succeed.”
In playing for Harbaugh, Marecic was responsible for 11 touchdowns over the past two seasons, 10 on offense and the other an interception return for a touchdown on defense. He also paved the way for three, 1,000-yard rushing seasons in his four years as a starter. On defense, Marecic totaled 51 tackles as a senior along with 5.5 tackles-for-loss, 2.0 sacks, two interceptions, seven pass breakups and one forced fumble to cap his award-winning season.
Although he succeeded on both sides of the field, Marecic narrowed his focus to the offensive side of the ball in Mobile due to his standing as one of the draft’s best fullback prospects. He also took part in special teams to show the tackling fundamentals remain a part of his repertoire.
And like Harbaugh, Marecic has a high opinion of another one of his former teachers, new 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
“He’s a football genius,” Marecic said. “It’s unbelievable the schemes he came up with. It was a lot of fun to play for him.”
But whether Marecic gets the opportunity to continue playing for his college coaches or not is truly insignificant.
“At this point I’m not even thinking about that,” he said. “I’m just trying to get myself in the best shape I can.”
Spoken like a true throwback.