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Thursday, February 28, 2013
Exit Interview: FB Paul Gyarmati

By Michael Rothstein

Nathan Brink
Paul Gyarmati (right) enjoyed his career at Michigan despite limited playing time.
'Exit Interview' is a concept started at WolverineNation last season, where we chat with players who will not be returning to Michigan next season.

Paul Gyarmati spent four years on the cusp of playing time at two positions, first as a walk-on linebacker before moving over to fullback when Brady Hoke became Michigan's coach.

He didn't record a carry during his final two seasons -- stuck behind John McColgan and then Joe Kerridge -- but played in 35 games, had four tackles and a fumble recovery.

Q: How did you end up at Michigan in the first place?

Paul Gyarmati: I was looking at other schools and I didn’t have that many options. A former quality control coach under coach Rodriguez contacted me and really sold Michigan. I didn’t know much about it. When I came to visit, I enjoyed my visit and everything about Michigan so I decided then and there to come.

Q: Did you have scholarship offers from other schools?

Gyarmati: Not really. I had a scholarship offer from Air Force and I had been talking to other schools, but other than that, not really.

Q: Throughout your career, you always seemed to get a little bit of playing time. What was that like to be on the cusp of playing time for four years?

Gyarmati: It was kind of interesting because you don’t know exactly where you are as far as your place on your team. I did like, honestly, contributing any way I can and it was fun. I can say I played, you know. I’m fortunate to even have played that much.

Q: You started as a linebacker then to fullback, right?

Gyarmati: I had two different positions, but three different numbers. Just linebacker and fullback.

Q: Why did you make the switch?

Gyarmati: I had talked about whether I should switch to fullback with my dad for a while. It seemed like they were really shallow there with just John McColgan there at the time and then I was talking about it with my dad and he was really for it. One day coach Hoke called me into his office and asked me to move to fullback and do what was best for the team. John McColgan, also. So I pretty much made the decision.

Q: Was there a point where you really felt you could be a starter?

Gyarmati: Oh yeah. I took every offseason seriously but this season, I had talked to Coach Jackson about gaining an additional 20 pounds and getting up to fullback weight. It was the hardest I’ve ever worked in an offseason and I got the 20 pounds, mostly good. Going into camp, I had full intentions to try and gain a starting position. Throughout camp I had a good camp but I wavered toward the end. Turned out, I was one play away from being the starting fullback.

Q: When you look back at your career, knowing how close you were, how do you view it?

Gyarmati: I would hate to say I have any regrets, because I don’t think I do. But one thing I would certainly tell a freshman walk-on in my position is that it is realistic to get playing time. I played with so many walk-ons who are a testament to that. I would really want to know my freshman year that if I just really put my mind to it, I could play and sooner than just senior year and more than just special teams.

Q: What was the best moment of your career? The lowest moment?

Gyarmati: Best moment was probably when I made the opening tackle against Ohio State in 2010. We ended up losing the game, which was not as good, but at the moment it was fun. Lowest moment? The only thing that comes to mind is losing in East Lansing.

Q: As a guy from Michigan, was that extra tough for you?

Gyarmati: Yeah, I think it is extra tough for the guys from Michigan.

Q: Now that your career is over, what’s next for you?

Gyarmati: I’m actually interning for Bob Lopez, the director of football operations. I think I want to get into operations or even coaching.

 Q: Did you always want to do that?

 Gyarmati: No. It was something I learned my last five years at Michigan. I actually had a unique opportunity to study under so many different coaches, playing two positions with two head coaches. I’ve gotten so many different angles on how to coach and I think I could contribute and give something back myself.