Straight A's

Na Derris Ward was rated the 3rd best tight end in the nation last year. Next year he has a shot as a starter. This redshirt season hit a snag when he had to have surgery on his shoulder about a month and a half ago. He is doing fine now, but the Oakland, California native will have to wait a little longer to play football as he tells me in this interview.

Dave McMahon -- What was your exact injury?

Na Derris Ward -- I tore an AC Joint and a few extra ligaments in my left shoulder.

DM -- How did it happen?

NW -- It was an old high school injury that came back. I should be at 100% when I am done.

DM -- Will you miss spring practice?

NW -- I should come back somewhere in the middle although I will probably wear a green jersey and be held out of contact. I will also probably not play in the spring game.

DM -- What do you do in practice now?

NW -- Coach Johnson wants me to stay focussed and watch practice. I still watch film and learn the playbook and plays as much as I can. I still ride the bike and do some cardio exercises to stay in shape.

DM -- What are you learning?

NW -- I am learning a lot. College is a whole new level than high school. I learn by watching Martrez Milner's work ethic. He teaches me a lot. I learn about the coverages and the different defenses.

DM -- What do you miss about Oakland?

NW -- Family and friends. Although my mother just visited me and I have family in Atlanta. I miss my friends.

DM -- Are you an A's fan?

NW -- I am a Braves fan, but I also like my hometown A's. I think they can beat the Tigers and go all the way.

DM -- Now on the other side, are the Raiders going to win a game this year?

NW -- They are working on it. I just talked to their tight end Courtney Anderson. He was my mentor back in Oakland. He said they have a lot of young players adjusting to the NFL. I guess it like me adjusting to college.

DM Thank you for your time and answers.

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