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Q&A: Mike Tolbert

Posted Dec 3, 2010

Find out which bruising former NFL running back is Tolbert's favorite, the genesis of his nickname and whether he expects long-term ramifications for his physical running style.

Though he carried the ball plenty at Coastal Carolina, few would've thought Mike Tolbert would be San Diego's leading rusher three years ago when he was an undrafted free agent that became a special teams player and fullback.

That all changed this season. The 5-foot-9, 243-pound Tolbert has rushed for more than 100 yards three times, including back-to-back weeks against Denver and Indianapolis.

His 138 carries, 609 yards and nine rushing touchdowns lead the team.

Frank Kakos; Philadelphia

How difficult was it to make the transition from fullback to the Chargers’ leading rusher?

It wasn’t too difficult because I always wanted to be a running back. I had to learn the different schemes and where the blocks are going. It wasn’t too hard.

Yul Demirel; Fort Lee, N.J.

When given the ball, what motivates you or drives you to get those extra yards after hits, and who or what influences your styling of running?

It’s my running style, straight down hill. I’m trying to make two or three guys take me down. Jerome Bettis is my favorite player.

Yvonne Howard; Garden Grove, Calif.

What adjustments have been necessary to change from fullback to running back and which position do you prefer playing?

I definitely had to get in better shape. I had to run a lot more to get in better condition. (Also) carrying the ball more and getting use to that.

Sheldon Derr; Oregon

Mike, you have a very aggressive running style, do you think that this style will later affect your running capabilities?

I think this game is a violent game and (at one point) everybody is going to get hurt before they’re done. I think the way I run the ball, more people will be hurt from what I do to them than what they do to me. I will be hurting, but not as bad as some.

Erin Dempster; Alexandria, Va.

What's the story behind your nickname, Yogi, and who gave it to you? Do you have any other nicknames?

My sister used to call me Yogi when I was younger because it was my favorite cartoon on TV. It traveled with me through the years. When I got to San Diego, one of the rookies with me said, “Hey you look like my boy Yogi.” I said, “Everybody used to call me Yogi back in the day.” It kind of stuck.

I’ve also been called Big Mike.

Francisco Vizcarra; Pico Rivera, Calif.

How can you describe your offensive line and what they do for you?

They do a great job. I took them out to dinner last night because they’ve been doing such a great job. Nobody gives them the type of respect they deserve. They’ve been blocking their tail off all year. For us to have three 100-yard rushing games and to be one of the top offenses in the league, it can’t happen (with only) Philip (Rivers). You have to have a great offensive line and they deserve credit just as much as we do.

Marco Cabanillas; Denver

What type of music do you like to listen to before a game?

Hip hop.

Deann English; Tacoma, Wash.

Does Coastal Carolina have a mascot? 

The Chanticleer, baby!

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