Spiller aims to build on late season surge with Bills
Published: Friday, July 13, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, July 13, 2012 at 11:21 p.m.
LAKE BUTLER — Through the first 10 games of the 2011 NFL season, former Union County star running back C.J. Spiller averaged 3.6 offensive touches for the Buffalo Bills.
But when starting running back Fred Jackson was lost for the season after suffering a broken fibula in a Week 11 loss at Miami, Spiller took advantage of the opportunity.
The former high school All-American, who also went on to receive All-American honors in an exceptional career at Clemson, showed signs as to why Buffalo selected him ninth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Spiller rushed for 446 yards on 86 carries and three touchdowns and caught 24 passes for 187 yards and a pair of scores as the Bills went 1-5 in the final six games of the season.
Is the C.J. Spiller who ended 2011 on a strong note going to be there for the entire 2012 campaign?
“Oh, yeah, he'll be there the whole year without a doubt,” Spiller said. “He would have been there this whole past season, but we had a guy playing at a Pro Bowl level.
“You can definitely expect the same one that ended the season to be there from the beginning to the end.”
On Friday afternoon, Spiller along with fellow former Union County star and current New England Patriots defensive lineman Gerard Warren, were back at their high school hosting their second annual youth football camp. More than 200 area youngsters were on hand to learn from and have fun with a handful of current and former NFL players.
Spiller worked with the kids on agility drills. Five campers challenged him to a race, to which Spiller responded that he wasn't loosened up yet.
But this has been a more comfortable offseason for Spiller and other NFL players compared to last year and the lockout.
“You know how to pace yourself, when it comes to working out, when to really go hard and when to rest your body so it can rest up so you can get ready for camp,” Spiller said. ”With the lockout, there was uncertainty because you didn't know when the season was going to go on.”
Spiller said that he plans to spend time with his family while also working out with the current Union County football team before he leaves July 24 for training camp. He is looking forward to the upcoming season and maybe an increased workload after his late season performance.
“Hopefully it will. The coaches, they know what type of player that I am. They know what I am capable of doing,” Spiller said. “Hopefully it will, but only time will tell. I don't really get caught up into that.
“I just go in there and when the opportunity presents itself, I try to take advantage of it, and for those last six games that is what I tried to do.”
He finished last season with 561 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 107 carries to go along with 39 catches for 269 yards and two scores. Spiller also handled punt return and kickoff return duties.
Although the Bills were 6-10 last year, Spiller said he likes the free agent additions of defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson and quarterback Vince Young.
The 2012 season could be a big one for the Bills and for Spiller, an all-around threat and a player who has shown glimpses of the explosiveness he often displayed in high school and college.
“You have to build on that. That is the main thing in the NFL, it's all about building on that confidence,” Spiller said. “This is the best that I have felt in a while so I am definitely looking forward to hopefully having a good year.
“Most importantly, it's all about putting your team in the postseason and having a chance to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the end.”