Player Q&A with FB Henry Hynoski
The following is our inaugural “Ask a Player” feature in which we asked you, the fans, to submit your burning questions for our designated Giants player.
This week, starting fullback Henry Hynoski stepped up to answer your questions about various topics such as his favorite nickname, life as a Giants rookie, his play thus far, and more. Read on to see what he had to say!Q: There have been several nicknames suggested for you such as Hynocerous, The Polish Hammer, Hynosaurus, Hank The Tank, Hyn-Octopus, etc. Which do you like the best?
A: Since high school I’ve always been called “Hank the Tank.” In college, some other ones came up, like “Hyno, the Rhino,” but I guess this “Hynocerous” one is starting to really catch on now. It really doesn’t matter to me so long as it sounds tough and sounds like a fullback’s name. So it’s up to the fans as to which one or ones they really want to go with.
Q: How can you utilize your skills to defeat your opponent whose skills as a professional are equal to or better than yours at this point in your career?
A: I think you have to have perfect technique, especially when it comes to blocking. The guys across from you are just as strong if not stronger, so you have to utilize perfect technique on every play. If you don’t, that’s how you get beat. That’s why I watch a lot of film — not just to see what defense they’re running, but also to see how guys play off blocks, where they strike an opponent, and to see how I can gain an advantage.
Q: I think your playing very well, but I am curious — when you miss blocks on plays, is that because the defense sends a rusher from a unexpected point, or is it just mental error on a blocking scheme?
A: With a fullback, I think some people believe that all you have to do is run down field and hit someone. There’s actually a lot of reading that goes into it, though. In a way, it’s like a running back who has to make his reads. For a fullback, it’s about reading the offensive line flow to get to the guys you’re blocking.
Q: What’s Eli really like in the huddle? Did he engineer any welcome pranks for your benefit?
A: Eli had a couple of welcome pranks that he was involved with during training camp. One of them was dumping a bucket of water on me while I was sleeping – he did that to a couple other rookies as well. Eli’s a great guy and a great team leader. He brings the confidence into the huddle that you want out of your quarterback, and he gives you the confidence that we’re going to move down the field and score a touchdown.
Q: What makes you strive to be better than other fullbacks?
A: I just love the game of football. Honestly, I don’t care about stats. I like going out and hitting people. I don’t care about being recognized or anything like that. I just want to play and do whatever I can to help the team win. So I just think that my pure love for the game is something that helps drive me to be the best fullback I can.
Q: How eager are you to get your first NFL carry?
A: My main thing is to block. My second thing is to catch passes in the flat, and my third thing is to carry the ball. I’m taking things one step at a time and doing whatever the coaches feel is best for the team. If I get a couple of passes here and there, great. If the runs come then great. If not, it’s okay.
Q: As the only true fullback on the team, who is your mentor, if anyone?
A: From day one, Charles Way has really helped me out a lot with the transition. (Tight end) Bear Pascoe helped me with learning the pass routes off the different plays and pass actions and things like that. Of course, (running backs) Coach (Jerald) Ingram, with his experience as a player and as a coach, has always there for me as well.
Q: What is the biggest difference in playing fullback in the NFL compared to in college?
A: In the first couple of games and practices, it was just adjusting to the speed. That’s just something you get accustomed to as time goes on. Now, I feel like I’m right at where I need to be at this stage.
Q: From a rookie’s point of view, how complex is the Giants’ offense, and did they feed it to you pieces or overload you with information?
A: In summer camp, there were about 10-15 different installations for the first 15 or so practices. At some point, I had run most of the plays in college; it’s just adapting the old plays that I already knew to the Giants’ terminology. Of course, there are plays in the NFL that are a little more advanced or complex than they are in college, and you also have some plays in the NFL that you don’t have in college that you have to learn from scratch.
Q: After going undrafted, what was your decision making process in choosing where to go, especially since the lockout prohibited undrafted free agent signings until it was resolved?
A: I was looking for a team where I could potentially come in to compete and contribute as soon as possible.
Q: Where you confident you would be in an NFL training camp once the lockout ended? Where you contacted by any UFL teams or Canadian Football teams once the NFL Draft was over?
A: During the lockout, my agent contacted a couple of UFL teams. In the end, we just decided to wait and see what happened.
Q: So far, how does Tom Coughlin and Kevin Gilbride compare to your coaches at Pittsburgh?
A: There are a lot of similarities. Coach Coughlin and Coach Gilbride are great people. They’re also very demanding, which is great because that’s what helps you win championships. They’re going to push you to your limits and bring the best out in you.
Q: People say playing in the New York market is tough. How have you found it so far? Do you find the media to be fair in their coverage of you so far?
A: Absolutely. Everything I’ve read has been fair. I don’t get the opportunity to read a lot of things, but the contact I’ve had with the media has been great.
Q: How does being under a microscope affect your ability to perform to your expectations?
A: You just have to block that out, get into the zone, and focus on your assignment. During the week at practice, you want to perfect your assignment. When it’s game time, you forget about everything else and just go and play football – you don’t think about being under the microscope.
Q: Given the New York Giants’ depleted receiving core, will you be taking on some increased responsibilities as a receiver in addition to maintaining your blocking role?
A: In college, I actually ran some routes like a slot receiver, so if it’s something that the coach wants me to do, I’ll be ready to take it on. I think I’ve proven that I can catch a football.
Q: How much of an influence has (former Pittsburgh and NFL running back) Curtis Martin had on your college and pro football career?
A: Honestly, I had no contact with Curtis Martin. I do remember (former Pittsburgh head coach) Coach (Dave) Wannstedt telling stories about how good of a player he was.
Q: The Giants running backs have different styles of running. How does that affect your lead blocking?
A: Brandon (Jacobs) is obviously a power back, but he has the speed and ability to break a long play. Ahmad (Bradshaw) is very shifty, but has the ability to be a power back at times. So I think that they really compliment my blocking style because one guy could run right past or help shake off somebody.
Q: You had a whiff or two on blocking assignments against St. Louis. What happened on those plays and what can you do to improve?
A: They weren’t missed assignments; I went to the right guy each time. I recall a block I missed (on fourth and one) where I just went for the kill shot and I left my feet. It was just one of those things where I got overly excited to pancake somebody. I was really upset with myself after that, and beat myself up about it. But I also learned from my mistake. There was another one — I think it was a third and two – where the play was blocked wrong, so I tried to adjust and take out the guy that was left free. He actually wasn’t my guy.
Q: How did you feel walking out onto the field for your very first NFL game?
A: I was overcome with a lot of emotion, because it was just one of those situations where, because of going undrafted and how my whole life I wanted to be in the NFL, it was so special. It really finally hit me on Monday night (against the Rams). There I am, running out of the tunnel as a starter on Monday Night Football. I got the chills and was just so pumped up and excited beyond belief.
Q: Do you feel that fullback is a dying position and that soon virtually no college teams will develop the position?
A: It definitely has been utilized less now than it has in the past. As far as I’m concerned, you’re always going to need a guy to lead block and be a thumper. So I think there’s always going to be a need for a fullback no matter what. I actually think the position is going to make a comeback.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not playing football?
A: I love fishing. I’m an outdoorsman. I come from Central Pennsylvania, out in the country. I grew up going fishing a lot in my spare time. That’s absolutely my favorite thing to do besides playing football.
Q: What’s something very few people know about you that they would find surprising?
A: Off the field, I try to be a nice guy. I think sometimes people think of a fullback and they think the guy playing the position has that mean mentality all the time. Off the field, I try to be a gentleman; on the field, I try to be an animal.
Q: What was it like growing up the son of a former NFL player? Did your dad (Henry Sr., who played for the Cleveland Browns) influence your decision to play football?
A: I idolized my dad. Every time we’d go out to dinner around the area, someone would come up and tell my family a story from when my dad played, and I always found that neat. It just seemed like everywhere we went, people were like, ‘Oh your dad was one of the best fullbacks I’ve ever seen. He once knocked three guys out in one game.’ So I was in awe and just grew up idolizing him.
He actually told me when I was growing up that it was up to me if I wanted to play football. He told me that if I didn’t play football, it wouldn’t matter to him or the family, but from day one, I always wanted to play football. When I was five years old — before I was even old enough to play football — my dad told me that I was begging him to play. When I was old enough — I think eight years old was the youngest you could play — he wouldn’t let me. He wanted me to wait until I was in junior high, but I was like, ‘No that’s too long to wait.’ So we compromised — I believe I was in fifth grade when I started. Once I started playing, he took me under his wing and taught me everything he knew.
Q: If you weren’t playing football professionally, what do you think you’d be doing today?
A: Probably going to graduate school getting a master’s degree in business. I’m definitely glad I’m playing football though.
The next Giants Player Q&A feature will be in two weeks. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Patricia_Traina, for an announcement regarding who the next player will be.