Camp Chat: LB Michael Okwo

Although his chance to compete for playing time at linebacker probably disappeared when Lance Briggs decided to end his holdout, rookie linebacker Michael Okwo is one of GM Jerry Angelo's favorites. Okwo spent some time with after Saturday's morning session and talked about the Stanford experience, adjusting to the 4-3 defense, and what he's learned in training camp already.

John Crist: You got a late start on the offseason program because you were finishing up your degree at Stanford. Did you feel a little bit behind once you finally made it to Chicago?

Michael Okwo: Yeah, I felt like I had a lot of mental reps to catch up on. I think when you don't get to be out here with the guys and actually put it into your body everything that you learn in the playbook, you don't really get to start off at the same pace as they do. So I definitely have a lot to catch up. I'm still catching up, but I think today was much more improved than yesterday.

JC: The Cardinal program has fallen on hard times the last few years. Do you think you could have gone higher in the draft if you had played at another Pac-10 school like USC or Oregon?

MO: Actually, I don't know. That's a tough question. I wouldn't trade going to Stanford for the world even though we didn't have a very good four years there. You can't really trade that education and that group of people there.

JC: You played a lot of the Cover 2 defense in college but primarily out of a 3-4 alignment. How much of an adjustment has it been learning the 4-3 thus far?

MO: It's been really unique actually. Much more difficult than I expected. Again, you've got to get your body into the right grooves and getting used to being oriented with the 4-3 defense. So that's picking up as we go along, as well.

JC: You had a reputation as a very good special teams player in college. Tell us a little more about your special teams experience and how you might fit in here as a rookie.

MO: I started off freshman year as a full-time special teams player on all four phases. I played throughout my four years. Tailored off a little bit as I starting getting in at linebacker, but we had a great special teams program for the time that I was up there. When I got started I had Coach [Tom] Quinn, and he's with the Giants now. He's a great special teams coach. Kind of put me in the mindset to play special teams, so hopefully I can bring that to the Bears.

JC: I know it's only been two days, but what have you learned about this team and about yourself already?

MO: Oh, man. This game is much more explosive than I had even heard about, than I knew anything about. So I'm trying to play football like NFL players play football.

John Crist is the Editor in Chief of and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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