Senior Bowl: Coach Schottenheimer interview

<b>Mobile, Al-</b> The San Diego Chargers aren't in the enviable position of coaching a team in Mobile this week but they have been at the Senior Bowl for the duration. Head coach Marty Schottenheimer took time out of his busy week for an exclusive interview with

Last year, the Chargers ended up taking seven players that got to experience the Senior Bowl. Seventy percent of their draft ended up coming from Mobile.

This year they are on the sidelines, watching from afar. What they lose in that is the intimate relationship they can develop with their own. Besides that, the two teams run different offense and defenses than that of the Chargers and the Bolts must assess whether the players they see will work.

Now that they aren't coaching one of the teams, Marty Schottenheimer believes they are at a slight disadvantage compared to Tampa Bay and Oakland.

"I think there is certainly a very definite advantage to be gained by coaching these players," Schottenheimer admitted. "When you are around them on a regular basis you get an opportunity to draw some conclusions about the way they conduct themselves away from football. I think ultimately that is the most significant advantage."

Head coach Norv Turner, in charge of the North squad, agrees with what Schottenheimer alluded to.

"When you come to practice you get a look at these guys but when you coach them you just get a better look," Turner said. "We are in meetings. We are with them throughout the day. Being on the sidelines before the games see how they react, look into their eyes…"

All is not lost. The Chargers scouting staff will be relied upon to submit information that is valid regarding the prospects. Meetings are setup daily to interact with the players and the coaches are looking to get a better feel for the individual rather than the play on the field.

They have seen four years of college football from these players and want to establish a personal connection with the individuals that will form the cornerstone of the future.

The Senior Bowl represents one of the first events in the NFL draft recruiting season. From here, the athletes will disperse and head off to their various enhancement programs around the nation. They will work towards bettering their measurables: speed, weightlifting, agility and body fat.

They will also get significant counsel from the agents who represent them.

"There is the opportunity to interact with these kids between this game and some of the other Bowl games and then the combine," Schottenheimer reasoned. "You have a pretty good feeling and for the most part quality information, although I will say my experience is in the combine they are pretty well schooled in how they should handle the interviews."

Does that make the Senior Bowl more important than any other postseason event leading up to the draft?

"I think so because you are also watching their activity and their conduct and their accountability in football," Schottenheimer admitted.

The Chargers brought all of their scouts and most of their coaches, including Cam Cameron and James Lofton. The only one not to make an appearance as far as we know was Tim Brewster. With their propensity to not only select players from the Senior Bowl but also those who have completed four years of school, the Senior Bowl could represent another bounty of players that will shape the future of the franchise.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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