February 22, 2008

Humpal ready for the big test

Mike Humpal came to the University of Iowa hoping that someday he would get the chance to play in the NFL. After fighting back from a difficult knee situation, the former Iowa linebacker will take the next step in chasing down that dream at the NFL Combine. As an Academic All American, he knows that the test this weekend will the biggest one yet.

"It is an important test, that is for sure. The biggest thing is what I did on film the last two or three years, but this is the next big test for me," Humpal said.

After earning second team All Big Ten honors this past year, thanks to 123 tackles, three interceptions, and two fumble recovers, the film for the New Hampton, IA native is pretty strong. He has put his trust in Stength and Conditioning Coach Chris Doyle to get him ready and he likes his chances.

"I knew coming into Iowa that Coach Doyle was a proven guy. I have never doubted him and his philosophy and having seen other guys go to the NFL Combine and perform well is all the more encouraging for me."

Humpal has been training under Coach Doyle for the past five years, but since the season wrapped up, he has started a slightly different style of training to get ready for the test that is the NFL Combine.

"Our emphasis isn't as much on the things you would do for the football season," Humpal said. "It is more about building up your speed and change of direction because those are things we will be tested on in Indianapolis. It is not a whole lot different than the past in the weight room, but just a few more reps."

All of the hard work will be on display this weekend in Indianapolis in front of a scouts, general managers, and front office personnel from every NFL team and Humpal hopes to make a positive impression.

"The most important thing that I have to do is just go there and do the best that I can and be myself in the interviews. On the physical side, I just need to perform the best that I can. I have been training for it for a long time, not just the past few months," he said.

One area of focus during the exhaustive combine is the medical evaluation and the former Hawkeye expects that there will be questions about his knee, but he isn't concerned about it in the least.

"I would anticipate some questions about my knee, but I played three seasons on it. Honestly, it was the best thing that I could have done to have it done and it really isn't an issue for me anymore."

Probably the most well known of the tests that will be administered this weekend beyond running the 40 yard dash, is the famous Wonderlic Test, in which prospects have 12 minutes to answer 50 questions. This should be a breeze for an Academic All American, right?

"I hope so," Humpal said with a laugh. "If they gave us thirty minutes or an hour, I don't think I would miss too many of them. But, since you are pressed for time and only have 12 minutes you have to do it as fast as you can. I hope I can do well on it."

When it is all said an done, the humble and soft spoken linebacker hopes he takes one more step in the process of fulfilling his NFL dreams with a strong performance.

"Everyone comes here hoping to make it to the NFL and now I have put myself in that situation and hopefully I can make the most of it."

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