Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- When you compare the place University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) junior running back Austin Sikorski was in 2011 and where he is today, you'd likely be amazed to see the difference --- through it all, though, his attitude has remained the same.
"I think it's important to reflect," Sikorski said. "It's important to look back and learn from mistakes and from things that went well. Things like that make me grow as a player and as a person."
The specific incident he's referring to is the 2011 football season with UMD, a year in which he missed several games due to a knee and hamstring injury.
Still, he chooses to focus on the positives.
"Injuries are hard," Sikorski said. "I've been through them before. I knew I had to keep my head right, get healthy, and do what I could so I could be back and help the team."
That attitude for Sikorski has gone a long way in earning him respect from his teammates and his coaches.
"Austin has really grown," UMD junior defensive lineman Buma Foncham said. "We came in the same year after he was hurt, and I've really seen him grow as a player and as a person."
"He worked hard this offseason with [strength coach] Matt Bauman," Bulldogs head coach Curt Wiese said, "and this has been the first real offseason where he's been able to train and be healthy, so we expected big things out of him this year."
Wiese and his staff have gotten those big things. Through two games, Austin was the team's leading rusher with 183 yards and three touchdowns.
"He and Logan [Lauters] right now give us a good balance," Wiese said. "Austin is more elusive, whereas Logan runs a little harder and isn't afraid to put his pads down. Both those guys have had effective games for us."
"I just try to do my job, do what the coaches tell me to do," Sikorski said. "I try to get the yards, get the first downs. I try not to look too much for the big run, just take what's there."