Not all bad

Today is the day that notifications come out for those who have been invited to the <!--Default For NFL Combine is to ignore-->NFL Combine. I haven't heard anything yet, so I am assuming that I will not be attending that particular event. I talked to Chip Smith, who is my trainer here in <!--Default For Atlanta is to ignore-->Atlanta, about that earlier. He that said not going to the Combine could be a very good thing for my prospects in the NFL. Why?

Mainly, because of the Hula Bowl.

I realized recently that there are both plusses and minuses to playing in a post season exhibition game. On the positive side, it is a great chance for pro scouts to see your workouts and to watch you in a game. Also, you are playing on national television, which is a big deal for those of us from smaller schools whose games are not normally carried by the networks.

On the minus side, post season bowl games are a complete break in the training routine. That can be distracting. Going to Hawaii was great, but it meant about two weeks that I was away from the workouts that I have been doing.

When I am with Chip here at Competitive Edge Sports, he has me working on specific things that have been designed to maximize my skills as a player. In a bowl game, you are thrown together with a lot of different players with many levels of skills. You keep training, but the workouts are not specifically tailored to any particular player's needs. By not going to the Combine, I am gaining another month to maximize my level of performance.

I am going to work out for two sets of pro coaches and scouts on two different weekends in middle and late March. One session will be at Northwestern. The other will be at the Bears facilities in Lake Forest. Each tryout will be one day only, unlike the Combine, which lasts for three days. We will be focusing on specific skills in small groups, and then there will be some time to talk individually with the scouts.

I'm pretty optimistic about getting good results from this, but of course you never really know until draft Day comes around. Between now and then, it's back to the weight room. There's still a long way to go.

Beth Gorr contributed to this article.

To view Casey Urlacher's official site, "click here."

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