Dave Ball familiar with Chargers staff

Dave Ball is just another member from the Senior Bowl that was picked by the San Diego Chargers. The Bolts did not discriminate, they picked players from both squads, but Ball had a chance to work out with the staff as a member of the South squad.

"It was a good experience," Ball said. "It was good to get the NFL coaching perspective."

And just the beginning. Ball embarks on a journey as a member of the San Diego Chargers. Back at the Senior Bowl, Ball admits he was a bit intimidated.

"I would say so," Ball admitted. "Everyone is measuring you and looking at you."

Then he moved on the combines where a strained calf limited his action on the field. Off the field, Dave Ball met with 15 teams.

He went on to meet with the Raiders, Bears, 49ers, and Chiefs, to name a few, in private workouts and the Chargers were the only team that considered Ball for the 3-4 alignment.

Now the scrutiny, and yelling, will be limited to one staff. A staff that has already given him advice and guided him for a week of practice.

The Pac 10 Defensive Player of the Year led the nation in sacks with 16.5 in 2003, a year after posting 11.5 as a junior. He has shown he can consistently get to the quarterback and the anemic Chargers pass rush could use his expertise in that department.

The 16.5 sacks this season eclipsed the previous best of 12.5 that former Bruin and fellow Charger Donnie Edwards had back in 1994. Ball now owns the single season mark in UCLA annals.

Ball confided that he ‘got it' as a junior for the UCLA Bruins. It was then that he "started playing up to my potential.

The calf injury has since healed and he is eager to start his new life in the NFL. The one stigma Ball is trying to get away from is that he can only rush the passer.

"Everybody out there has a different opinion of different people. I am sure I need to pick up every aspect of my game at the next level. It is not going to really be a problem. I just have to focus on learning new techniques and I am sure when I get into camp we are going to have to focus on the run as much as we are the pass. We are going to have to pick up that area.

"It will be different playing a 3-4, but you just have to learn to adapt and I can adapt pretty well."

UCLA played a traditional 4-3 with Ball lining up outside the tackles. He will have to refine his skills in the 3-4 and learn to work from various positions instead of the customary end spot.

It is a challenge that Ball is ready to take.

"You just have to perform and do your best," says Ball. "It's a whole knew equation, just getting ready for the season is all that matters."

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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