When Will Paul was recruited by Michigan back in the spring of 2003, it was for him to make a name for himself along the defensive line. Now, in the fall of 2005, Paul finds himself adapting to a change in not only position, but also trying to make the transition to the opposite side of the ball.
"The toughest thing was probably learning all of the offensive plays because there is so much that goes on with the offense,” said Paul on his transition. “For instance, knowing who you have to block on certain defenses was a challenge. I'd say learning all the plays was definitely the toughest challenge compared to the defense where you have different calls where there isn't as much to learn. I'd say that was probably the biggest challenge."
Despite the challenge, however, Paul has found the move to offense as a most favorable one. Following the graduation of Kevin Dudley, the Wolverines had a large hole looming at fullback in the offseason, something not lost on the Wolverines head coach Lloyd Carr.
"Coach Carr initially approached me about it and Coach J (Jackson) said something about it after Coach Carr did but I was really excited because I just wanted to help the team out. For me to get on the field, this is really the first time that I've been on the field a lot during the games, and it was real exciting and to help to contribute to the team. It is real exciting."
As Paul has learned more about the position, the third year player from Missouri has become more comfortable on offense, evident by the playing time received as a result of his effort this summer and fall.
"I feel that having a better grasp of the offense has helped me out a lot. Brian Thompson and Obi Oluigbo have helped me out a bunch especially during the summer even though they knew we were all going to be competing for the same position. They had no problem helping me because they knew we were all going to help the team in some way. Getting a better grasp of the offense helped me out a lot. I just try to block as well as possible with lower leverage."
It has been his blocking and toughness thus far that has impressed Coach Carr.
“He is blocking the same linebacker at the end of the line of scrimmage that's trying to rip across your face and force the ball outside, and then on the sweeps you are blocking the strong safety. He was athletic enough that we felt he could do all those things and he's done all of them well."
Because he’s done those things well, Paul has found himself a much more ample amount of playing time this season, something that has helped Paul make the transition with more optimism.
"I did see it as an opportunity. I wasn't going into it, before I moved over there I was trying to become the best defensive lineman that I could, and I was trying to get on the field as much as possible there too. The move helped me with playing time a lot and I was really excited with the move and to be able to help the team out."
With his new opportunity, Paul is making the most of his playing time whether he gets to carry the ball or not.
“I have great pride in blocking for our running backs. I feel that if they have a great game than I have a great game too,” says Paul. “It doesn't bother me if I get the ball or not."
When he is asked to carry the ball, however, Paul will be ready to do whatever he can for the Wolverines and does have experience at moving the sticks with either a run or catch from an earlier football team.
"In high school I played fullback and it wasn't that big of a deal. My job is to block and be the most complete blocker that I can. Every now and again if they throw me the ball I'll be happy and try and help gain some yards with a catch."