Rookie Q&A: Orlando Scandrick

IRVING, Tex. - Orlando Scandrick might not have been a household name when the Cowboys took him in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, but the ex-Boise State cornerback was far from an unknown commodity.

After all, he was front and center when the Broncos defeated Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, a game in which Scandrick had six tackles.

He was also instrumental in a number of other big games for the Broncos, who made the move from mid-major to major power during his tenure.

Recently, The Ranch Report caught up with Scandrick to get his thoughts on life as a rookie.

First off Orlando, take us back to draft day for a second. What was draft day like for you?
Scandrick: It was definitely emotional. Your destiny not even being in your hands was tough. Everyone wants to be a first-round pick and there were only 31 of those this year. So, obviously that's not going to happen. It was a rough day but once my name got called, it took some of that pressure off my shoulders.

Were the Cowboys one of those teams that you had a lot of contact with before the draft or did them taking you in the fifth round catch you completely off guard?
Scandrick: No, I didn't have a pre-draft workout here. They were one of those teams that I had met with at the combine. It went well but I hadn't heard from them since. It was pretty surprising when I heard from Mr. (Jerry) Jones.

Describe what it means for you to wear that star on your helmet.
Scandrick: Being part of America's team is incredible. I grew up watching this team with Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Troy Aikman. It feels great to be a Cowboy.

You're only a few practices into your pro career, but what have been the biggest differences you've noticed about the pro game thus far?
Scandrick: Everything moves so much faster here, you've just got to apply what you've learned to the field. You have to be able to take what the coaches have given you and use that on the field. I think the speed of the game will be the biggest adjustment for me. Also, everybody at this level is really good.

As a corner, you will have the opportunity to learn a lot from a Pro Bowler like Terence Newman. How much are you looking forward to learning from him?
Scandrick: I am looking forward to learning from him a lot. He's been around and has done it. I have watched him on TV a lot and know that he's been to the Pro Bowl. I think that's going to be great to learn from someone like him that I look up to.

You weren't the only corner taken in this draft by the Cowboys. What is your relationship with first-rounder and fellow corner Mike Jenkins like?
Scandrick: Mike and I met at the combine and also happened to be on some of the same pre-draft trips. Then, we happened to get drafted by the same team. It's going to be great pushing each other and learning from each other whether learning what one of us does wrong or what we do right and applying that to our own game. It's a great opportunity for us both.

What are your goals for your rookie season?
Scandrick: I just want to get better every day. I want to come in here and gain some knowledge from the classroom and then be able to apply that on the field. I want to get better with every rep and not hang my head when I make mistakes because obviously, I'm going to make mistakes.

Dave Campo is a former head coach here and has coached in the NFL for quite a few years. How much can you learn from someone with his experience?
Scandrick: It's great learning from him. He's been around forever. He's just showing us what we're doing wrong to help us grow and to bring us along.

Why did you leave Boise State early and how tough was your decision?
Scandrick: I wanted the chance to play in the NFL and didn't want an injury to hamper that chance. It was tough, one of those decisions that I had to make and not wonder what if. Once I made the decision, I stuck with it.

Did you know that the Cowboys were somewhat thin at corner before the draft?
Scandrick: No, I didn't even know five corners on the Cowboys. I knew Terence Newman, Anthony Henry and heard about Pac Man. The draft was so tricky that you never really knew what was going to happen because of all the trades going on and all the free agents signing.

How much are you going to miss playing on that famous blue turf that Boise State is famous for?
Scandrick: Yes, I am going to miss playing up there and being around all the guys. I will miss the games, the atmosphere and being a college kid. We got some great players and coaches up there. We just continued to go out there and get better every day. That sums up the rise of that program.

How did a California kid end up at an out-of-the-way place like Boise State?
Scandrick: I just wanted a chance to play early. I had a chance to play there as a true freshman and to start every game. No (I didn't get to return kicks much there like I did in high school). I returned a few kicks here and there but they usually had an upperclassman to return.

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