Camp Tales

It was back to the bottom of the pack as rookie cornerback Lance Frazier took part in mini-camp with the Baltimore Ravens.

After an excellent career as a cornerback for West Virginia, Lance Frazier took the next step toward a life in professional football when he signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Ravens and took part in their rookie mini-camp recently.

Frazier was one of the stalwarts of WVU's secondary over the past three seasons, recording eight interceptions, 38 pass breakups and 192 tackles during his career. However, he's now in the position of fighting for a roster spot as an undrafted free agent. That type of mental adjustment might be even more difficult than the increase in physical competition, but Frazier believes he handled everything well during his first on-field performance in the pros.

"Mini-camp was pretty much like a regular summer camp practice," Frazier related. "One of the big things they wanted was to see how quickly we could adjust to their system. We had meetings and they crammed us with new plays and terminology. It was kind of like an evaluation period - they wanted to see who could absorb all of that information and take it onto the field.

"My first couple practices were great. I thought I was pretty productive. I had a couple of pass breakups and interceptions, and I think I was able to show them what I can do. I felt pretty comfortable.

"They really don't work on technique too much, so I didn't really do anything different there than I did at WVU. They wanted to see how much we already know and see how we did it, but it was more concentrated on how we could take their system and play it on the field."

Frazier, who is an even-keeled sort that doesn't get too emotional, also found one big difference between the professional and college levels.

"The big difference is that there's no nonsense. Nobody yells at you. They expect you to treat it as a job and a business. The workouts moved faster, and the speed of the game is a little bit higher. Every position is pretty fast, really."

As one of many undrafted free agents trying to make their mark, Frazier wanted to get off to a good start and draw early attention from the coaching staff.

"That first impression is one they remember," Frazier said. "My whole thing was the week before I went was visualizing myself doing well and playing like I had nothing to lose. The pressure might be on the guys that got drafted, but not on the free agents. If you can make plays against guys that got drafted, that makes you look better. The guys that were drafted are expected to look good against you, so they have more pressure on them."

Frazier believes that he did accomplish his goal, but he didn't get any feedback on where he might stand in the potential pecking order of free agents. The Ravens currently have two other rookie cornerbacks on the roster, so Frazier has competition in his attempt to make the roster.

As several Mountaineer players found out this spring, NFL draft and player personnel executives are becoming more and more close-mouthed about player evaluations, and coaching staffs are following that lead.

"The coaches will let you know right away when you do something right or wrong, but they don't give you too much of an idea about where you stand," Frazier observed. "I felt they were kind of shocked about my play in a positive way, so that's good, but they didn't take me aside or say anything to me about my chances of making the team or anything like that.

"So many things can happen between now and training camp. Hopefully they saw what I can do, and I'll get the chance to keep playing like I did. Once you get all the pads on and start preparing, that's when they start to make those decisions."

Up next for Frazier is a passing camp, which begins on May 16th and runs for approximately one month. In preparation, Frazier has been studying the notes he took during meeting time and film study (teams typically don't let free agents take playbooks home with them), and keeping in shape. He reports back to the Ravens camp at 3:00 p.m. this Sunday, and will continue working out in addition to the on-field mini-camp sessions.

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