MOBILE, Ala. – After a delicious lunch at Dreamland BBQ at the suggestion of 49ers area scout Ethan Waugh, we’ve arrived at Ladd-Peebles stadium for the first day of Senior Bowl practices.
The town of Mobile has been taken over by the NFL as witnessed from our activities already. This morning while checking in at registration there were representatives from what seemed like every team.
I ran into Rams running backs coach Sylvester Croom, who coached 49ers second-year RB Anthony Dixon in college. Croom said he wished he could have selected Dixon in St. Louis and that the 49ers have a great runner for the future.
Weigh-ins were this morning and most of the talk in Mobile has been on the findings from the session. Several top prospects did not match up with previously listed heights and weights. However, the numbers will likely be put to the back burner once practice begins. The National Football Post posted the results along with some analysis.
Currently both North and South squads are practicing, with the North going through warmups and stretches at Ladd-Peebles. We’ll have more from Mobile throughout the day.
Quarterbacks are throwing to backs and receivers who are matching one-on-one with various defensive groups. So far, Stanford fullback Owen Marecic did a nice job getting past Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews on a crossing route to make a reception.
It’s WR-DB one-on-ones, so far a lot of deep balls attempted, not too may received. Interesting to see Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick throwing passes to Boise State wideouts Titus Young and Austin Pettis. Kaepernick kept them from a BCS game, but working together this week on the North squad. Young just made a great adjustment on deep sideline ball thrown by Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi down the sideline in front of me.
Team period begins, Marecic, Locker and Oklahoma’s DeMarcco Murray line up in starting North backfield. Locker completes first pass on play-action roll out to his right, finding Wisconsin TE Lance Kendricks for a 20-yard gain.
Virginia Tech cornerback Rashad Carmichael has two interceptions during 7-on-7 period. First was a diving catch, second was on tipped pass off Young’s fingertips.
Rutgers defensive back Joe Lefeged just intercepted Stanzi on deep wheel route slightly overthrown during same period.
It’s time for another team period.
Players might be in shells (shoulder pads and shorts) but five players just went to the ground on first run play. Lots of intensity on first day.
Practice just ended, but we caught up with several players including Locker, Marecic, and Cal defnsive lineman Cameron Jordan. We’ll have videos and photos posted shortly, before heading out to Senior Bowl media night.
Locker spoke with a handful of reporters after the first practice. Here’s a transcript of the conversation:
Q: Do you think the incoming NFL players are concerned with the uncertainty of the league’s collective bargaining agreement?
A: No, we can’t control it. We can’t in any way affect it. I think what we need to do as players is prepare like there is going to be a draft, like there always has been, be as ready as we can for that day and let everything else take care of itself. (Editor’s note: a draft will take place with or without a new CBA).
Q: Do you worry there will be a rookie salary cap in place for your class?
A: Again, it’s something we can’t control. I play the game because I love to, I’ll play for any amount of money.
Q: What are your goals for this week?
A: I just want to show that I’m competitive, show that I’m a quick learner, coachable and that I have a great upside playing in NFL-style offenses.
Q: What’s the biggest thing you’ve picked up from working with NFL coaches this week?
A: Tempo at practice. Just trying to get going a little quicker, getting in and out of the huddle. It’s something I’ll focus on tomorrow.
Q: From now until the draft, what’s the biggest thing you’ll work on?
A: I think just continuing to throw, footwork fundamentals in the passing game.
Q: What are impressions of Senior Bowl week in Mobile so far?
A: It’s fun, a new place I haven’t seen, so it’s been fun.
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