ENGLEWOOD, Colo.—The defensive tackle position is one of professional football’s hardest to learn. Rookies at the position have to build both body and mind to prepare for the grueling mental and physical toll the position takes on young players. Denver Broncos rookie defensive tackle Darius Kilgo is learning that lesson firsthand.
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On Monday, as Broncos rookies reported to the first training camp of their NFL careers, Kilgo spoke to the Denver media about his transition to the pro game, his time with his coaches, and his goals for the season. Kilgo, a University of Maryland graduate, is dealing with a familiar foe of NFL rookies: the speed of the game.
“Speed is the hardest part,” Kilgo said, “The demand of learning the playbook and being able to go out there and make the least amount of mistakes as possible. You don't want to make the same mistake twice. You definitely want to know your playbook, and when you get on the practice field, you want to be able to produce.”
Thankfully, Kilgo is being coached by Bill Kollar, a defensive line guru long regarded as one of football’s best teachers. Kilgo says learning from the 62-year-old has been a blessing.
“It's been a great experience,” Kilgo said. “When I first got out here, it was something that I wasn't used to. But, as I've spent more time with him, he's been a great coach. He's been a great guy just to teach you a lot of things. He's taught me a lot of things that I never knew. I'm just trying to take advantage of it."
Broncos fans are certainly hoping Kollar can coach up the sixth round draft pick into a productive player along the Denver defensive line. Though, for his part, Kilgo is keeping a level head about his expectations for the 2015 season.
“I'm just going out there and do the best I can do,” he said. “Hopefully, at the end of the day, I'll be able to fill that position. But right now, wherever the team needs me that is where I'm going to play.”
Veterans will join Kilgo and the rest of the Broncos rookies for training camp this Friday. Kilgo says he’s ready to get to work.
“It's been a while. From graduating college to playing in a bowl game, it's been a while since I put on the pads. I'm pretty excited.”
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