"There are a number of challenges. Everybody talks about the speed of the game and those types of physical differences but I really think one of the biggest differences is just going from a collegiate setting to a professional environment where it's a job. For those who are able to adjust and adapt to it being a job and confronting it like a job. ... in other words, waking up in the morning and going to work. And going prepared. Bringing your pencil and paper to take notes on and taking a lot of time to study film and making sure you do all your homework and everything you can do mentally.All of these guys have the physical attributes that they need to excel at that level. But it's just will they be able to look at the big picture and have the maturity to look at this as a professional career. I think that's a big adjustment for these guys."
This is a time when they won't have the coaching staff closely watching them. The motivation must come from them.
"You are exactly right. Some people make that adjustment very easily. Anquan (Boldin) is here every singe morning and I see him being someone who is very mature and he has a... from what I can tell, a pretty good understanding that this is a professional career he's embarking on. It's not about the cars, the watches, the money and all those things. This is a job for him and I can see him being able to handle it very, very well. As I think most of these guys will. There are some guys, however, see the glamour and the flash and they don't see it as a job. And that's why unfortunately, 83-percent of those who leave the NFL are broke. We had Brad Johnson who came and spoke to the team during the last week of spring ball and he talked a lot about those very thing. Hopefully, we can do a good job here preparing people so when they do get to that professional setting it's an easier adjustment for them. A lot of them have put in a lot of time and hard work. I told them from the time they have an opportunity to introduce themselves to the pro scouts, you need to look at this as a job interview. From the way you present yourself, from what you are wearing when you run to what you say when you meet the scouts and the owners, and they've all done a very good job of preparing themselves and put themselves to be in a good position on draft day and I hope everything goes well for them."
Talk about spring drills. Everyone feels it was a very productive time for this team.
"I think it was very productive. You can take a look at it as a positive or a negative but we had a lot of people sitting out (injury). I would like to have everyone participating but if you look at that on the other side of the coin, it was an opportunity for a lot of the young guys to get a lot more reps and more exposure than they probably wouldn't have normally gotten if all the starters were able to participate in spring ball. So, there are some young guys who that got some great experience and really developed and matured and hopefully provide us more depth in the fall."
Talk about the NCAA mandated changes for this offseason.
"Yes, we've had some big changes and there's probably going to be some more changes down the road into next year. I think this is just the beginning. Let me work backwards from two-a-days. The NCAA has made some big changes and first change is that two-a-days will no longer exist as we know it. We still don't know when we will report. It was supposed to be voted on, but we will probably report Aug. 4, which is a Monday, for the fifth or the eighth. After we report, the first five days of our fall camp will be mandated as one practice a day. I believe we are limited to three hours on those days. Everybody will report at the same time, where in the past the freshmen would report three or four days before the varsity. So, everybody will report on the same day and the first five days will be one practice a day. The first two in shorts and helmets, second two in uppers and the fifth one in full pads. Then, everyday after that there will be two practices a day, followed by a day of one, followed by a day of two, followed by a day of one. So, you really will only have two-a-days every other day, so that will be an enormous change in and of itself.
"Now, working back from the day we report, we can start the summer program nine weeks before the day we report. And one of those nine weeks has to be what the NCAA is calling a discretionary period, and that is a week we will be open and we can help the athletes as far as technique and watch them as far as safety, but we can not, what the NCAA calls, conduct a workout. In other words, we can't schedule lifting times in groups and we can't bring a group of athletes out on the field and train them in a scheduled structured regimented program. And if you count back nine weeks before reporting, that's going to put us around June 1. The time before that nine-week period is also termed as a discretionary period. So, really when we get out of school – this is our last week of classes and next week is finals week – after finals week for pretty much all of May until that first week of June is that discretionary period. Again, we can be open. They can come in and train and we can provide them a workout, but it's going to be a little bit of a less formal of a workout and a little less structured and a little bit, unfortunately, less hands on as far as what we can do with them. So, it's an awful lot of changes compared to what it has been in the past."