PAULA CAPUTO — Staff Writer
During those warm crisp summer nights when college students are out enjoying their months off from school, Owls running back Rashaad Slowley is already asleep so he can be up and ready for his 6 a.m. runs.
Hard work and determination are what it takes to be successful, according to Slowley. He said he looks at it as if the offseason is the real season, so when the actual season does approach, he’s in shape and knows what he’s doing. All that’s left for him is to execute.
“I like scoring touchdowns and running the ball,” Slowley said. “I like the adrenaline that it gives you in close games. The adrenaline that you get when adversity comes, you know, if you’re down by two touchdowns and you make it a good game in the fourth quarter.”
Upon finishing his record-breaking season, Slowley earned league MVP and he is one of the final eight candidates for the 2011 Harlon Hill Award. He set a new SCSU single-season record with 29 touchdowns and he currently ranks second in college football at all levels in scoring and fifth in yards per game. He is now in second place all-time at SCSU in rushing yards, touchdowns and points.
Slowley said it’s nice to be rewarded for his efforts on the field.
“My past years I’ve been rotating with other running backs,” Slowley said. “I’ve been kind of cut short for my postseason awards, so this year I really tried to make my stamp on the league just to show I’m a good athlete and that I can produce.”
“Never put anyone down and always have faith” is what Slowley said he kept telling his team this year. In the majority of the games this season, the Owls were trailing at the half. Slowley said everyone just pushed each other, kept their heads up and just kept in mind that they’re all in it together. He said one thing he can take away from this season is to never give up, trust in the team and everything will work out.
Head coach Rich Cavanaugh said Slowley exhibits all the traits looked for in the Harlon Hill Award winner. He said Slowley excelled against good teams and was consistent in his performance week in and week out.
“It wasn’t like he had big games against poor teams; he had big games against good teams,” Cavanaugh said. “To me, when you perform at your best against the best, that says a lot about you.”
Cavanaugh said Slowley’s success goes beyond his God-given talent. According to Cavanaugh, Slowley works all the time at trying to make himself better and at being the best football player he can be.
“Whether it was from a conditioning standpoint, a strength standpoint, a knowledge standpoint,” Cavanaugh said, “he worked in all areas that he needed to work on and improve.”
Cavanaugh said the important aspect of Slowley was that the team could count on him. When the team was behind, he always had the ability to make some plays, make a big run, score a touchdown and put the Owls back into the game.
According to teammate and fullback Rich Romaine, Slowley was the lead horse of the team and was always putting them on his back.
“He really went out of his way to improve himself throughout his four years at Southern,” Romaine said. “He could always run with the football, but he improved his pass-catching and his pass-protection, which made him a complete running back.”