Like most athletes, like most captains, Mike Tomlin isn't satisfied.
William and Mary's fifth-year senior wide receiver and co-captain thinks he could have, should have done more.
Asked if he thought he has had a good season, Tomlin replied: ``Honestly, no. I haven't made the plays I wanted to make or I think I can make. I can't say it's been disappointing, it's just that I have high expectations for myself.''
He may not have achieved his own expectations, but Tomlin has proven to be quite successful.
Tomlin is one of only four players in W&M history with more than 2,000 yards receiving in their careers, joining Harry Mehre, Jeff Sanders and Corey Ludwig. He has caught at least one pass in 28 consecutive games.
Tomlin's career reception mark of 20.9 yards a catch is the best in school history. Nineteen of his 98 career catches have gone for touchdowns, and 14 of his touchdown catches have been at least 30-yard plays.
``The biggest area he's improved is in the knowledge of our offense,'' said quarterback Shawn Knight, Tomlin's close friend and roommate for the last four years. ``He's learned the offense and taken it from there, finding ways to manipulate it and tailoring it to his abilities.
``He's always been able to catch the football, he's always been able to run by people. But as you learn more about the offense, it almost becomes like a toy or a puzzle, where you find little things that allow you to take advantage of your own talent.''
Tomlin's numbers are down from last season. He has 29 receptions this season for 608 yards and six touchdowns. In 1993 he hauled in 39 passes for 674 yards and seven touchdowns.
The numbers are a reflection of the Tribe's diminished production as a team more than Tomlin's season. Going into its season finale at rival Richmond at 1 p.m. Saturday, the Tribe is averaging 192 yards passing a game this season, down from last year's total of 225 a game.
Tomlin's progress has been steady, but he was a big-play threat almost from day one. As a redshirt freshman in 1991, two of his eight receptions were for touchdowns and he averaged 22.8 yards a catch. In '92 he averaged 25.5 yards a catch on 22 receptions.
``I learned how to succeed, what it takes to succeed,'' he said. ``Rather than saying it or hoping it, I learned how to take the necessary steps to do well. That's carried over into the classroom as well.''
His success isn't limited to the season either, Tomlin also has received the team's off-season conditioning award two winters ago.
``When you get that award, you naturally think of a linebacker or a fullback or a lineman doing that, you don't usually see a wide receiver,'' coach Jimmye Laycock said. ``But I think that's a pretty good indication of the way he's worked to find ways to improve.''
Tomlin arrived at W&M as a skinny kid with decent speed. He has filled out to a solid 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, attributing much of his development to his older brother Eddie, who starred at Denbigh and played football at Maryland.
``He's been the single deciding factor that's put me where I am today,'' Mike Tomlin said. ``He's always been my source of motivation. He set kind of an upper boundary for me. Every time I did something and went to him, he'd say, `Oh yeah, I've done that.' ''
Mike Tomlin remembers catching the activity bus in middle school to go to Denbigh in the afternoons and lift weights with his brother.
``I'm very fortunate he was around for me,'' Tomlin said. ``If it wasn't for him, I'd probably be a 160-pound student somewhere.''
And William and Mary would have one less receiver in the record book.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times