Rookie RB Wayne Gallman has made an impact on the Giants running game in his first NFL games:
Wayne Gallman has not tasted victory since Clemson captured the national championship in January, and the rookie running back is set on ending on the drought.
While his Tigers did what no team had ever done before in beating Nick Saban's Alabama dynasty in the title round, Gallman is learning just how much harder it is to win at the next level. The biggest difference: preparation.
"In college, you study film and you do all that, but sometimes there'll be some games where I'll turn it on and I'll just watch one game and I'm like, 'All right, I'm ready,'" Gallman said of his college days. "Whereas you watch the NFL defense and every other game and they're bringing other things into the game where you have to really know, 'Oh, this happened Week 1 -- they may bring that.' 'Oh, they did this thing different last week.' But you still don't know what they're going to bring this week, so you really have to prepare yourself."
Instead of easing into a season against a Kent State, now you open on the road with a night game against the Dallas Cowboys. Instead of playing a Wake Forest in Week 6, you travel to Mile High to face a Broncos team fresh off the bye and less than two years removed from winning the Super Bowl.
"College, you can do what you want," Gallman said. "I know in college we had a basic inside zone and basically you read A-gap, and wherever else is on you. Whereas the NFL, everything is about details. You have A-gap runners, you have outside runners, everything goes together. Even if you don't do the right thing up here, our offensive line will get on you. I never had to deal with that, but everybody knows where it's supposed to go, but at the same time I'm starting to figure it out."
After not dressing for the first three weeks of his NFL career, the fourth-round draft choice got his opportunity in Week 4 with fellow running back Orleans Darkwa sidelined. Gallman led the team in rushing that day and recorded his first NFL touchdown on a four-yard pass from Eli Manning. The following week, he had a team-high 11 carries that went for 57 yards.
"Man, it's a dream come true," Gallman said. "It's something that you've always been wanting to do, of course. For me, sitting out those first three weeks and finally getting my chance to really help contribute and do what I'm expecting to do, it feels really good."
In their last outing, the Giants ran for a season-high 152 yards, more than 100 of which came after contact. That's where Gallman has "electricity in his game," as coach Ben McAdoo described it after the rookie made his debut.
"When there's nothing there, you still have to make something out of nothing," said Gallman, who finished his career third in Clemson history in rushing touchdowns and fifth in rushing yards. "That's been my whole philosophy on me as a runner. The holes are going to be there; sometimes they're not, but what are you going to do when it's not there? I just try to bring something to the team, always fighting for the extra yard. I'm just trying to help us get a win."
The 0-5 Giants will try to claim one of those for the first time this year on Sunday night in Denver, where Gallman and company will line up against perhaps the toughest defense they face this year. They will again play without Paul Perkins, who is set to miss his second game in a row with a rib injury after starting the first four weeks at running back.
"Everything jumps out, man," Gallman said in breaking down Denver's defense. "Really it's just going to all come down to us knowing what we're doing, executing our game plan, and just playing to the best of our ability."