Camp Chat: LB Nick Roach

Replacing Pro Bowler Brendon Ayanbadejo on the coverage units will be a daunting task, but special teams coordinator Dave Toub firmly believes young linebacker Nick Roach is the man for the job. Roach spent some time with Bear Report after Thursday's training camp workout in Bourbonnais.

John Crist: We know you spent training camp a year ago in San Diego with the Chargers. How does a Lovie Smith practice differ from a Norv Turner practice?

Nick Roach: I would say they're pretty similar. Both of their coaching styles are pretty laid back. They don't do too much yelling. I'd say the biggest difference, though, is Lovie is watching the defense more. Norv is obviously with the offense a lot. But as far as the overall schedule, we start about the same time [and] end about the same time. It's always a good tempo.

JC: What about the fan appreciation? I know San Diego is a little bit more of a laid-back city compared to Chicago, but the non-stop support you guys get here in Bourbonnais every year is just amazing.

NR: Honestly, the support out there was pretty much similar. We would come out and there would always be about two or three thousand people lined up, trying to get autographs and yelling names. It's similar to what we had last year. This is a bigger practice area. We just stayed right there at Chargers Park.

JC: Brendon Ayanbadejo is no longer here, but special teams coach Dave Toub brings up your name quite often. Do you think about being the next Brendon Ayanbadejo, or are you more worried about just being Nick Roach?

LB Nick Roach
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NR: It's not a matter of trying to live up to it. He was obviously a great player. He got recognized in the Pro Bowl twice. I, fortunately, got to play with him the last couple of games last year. It's just a matter really of looking at what he did to be successful, and seeing if I can try to implement some of those things and just relying on whatever I can do.

JC: I don't want to get into all the soap-opera stuff that's happening with this team off the field right now. That being said, what's it like out here running kickoff return and punt return without Devin Hester lining up deep?

NR: Right now, since we're doing the basic fundamentals, we haven't even really done a whole return yet. So we'll know more about that as camp goes on, and hopefully he'll be here with us when that time comes.

JC: The majority of your reps on defense for this team have been on the weak side, but today you were heading up the second-string unit at middle linebacker. How much of a difference is there between the spots, and are you big enough to play in the middle at this level?

NR: Am I big enough? I don't know. That's what they tell me, so I'm just going to trust what the weight-training staff and the coaches say. I don't think it's a matter of that as much as what you know and if you can get to the right spot, and then make the play once it gets there.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report 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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