Patriots' Andrews Makes An Impression

Baylor's Willie Andrews has turned heads and opened eyes while at rookie minicamp this weekend. He hopes it's enough to make an impression that will enable him to have a shot at a roster spot when the season rolls around. Andrews talks about camp, how the adjustment to the NFL has gone and some things that he's learned while in Foxborough. Get inside for this exclusive interview with the confident defender who may just surprise some people.

Willie Andrews of Baylor doesn't have great size, at 5-10, 190 pounds. For a guy who projects as a return specialist in the NFL, he doesn't have spectacular speed, either.

What he does have is confidence. Were not talking cockiness here, were talking confidence - a sense of calm during a storm, a faith in self that shines even in the one-day-at-a-time world of professional football.

Andrews stood out among the 25 signed rookies participating at the two-day minicamp at Gillette Stadium this weekend. He stood out on the practice field, where he was the most impressive of six defensive backs in the mix. And he was the star of media meet-and-greets, hands down.

On Saturday, while most of his fellow rookies kept their heads down and their guard up during interview sessions, Andrews smiled big, talked clearly, and shared his passion for football.

Q: What's it been like for you so far?
Its great to be with great players like Chad Jackson, getting out there, sticking him, David Thomas, looking to stick those guys. Just getting on the field trying to improve my chances. I just look forward to getting in the pads.

Q. Anything you've learned?
Learned? I learned that the East Coast weather is cold. (laughs) Being from Texas, you know.

Q: What's the toughest adjustment so far?
Well, it's the same type of coverage we ran at Baylor, but there are different players, going from a 4-3, a 4-2-5, a 3-4. Gotta learn all these new positions. I'm playing right safety right now, and were kind of shorthanded at corner, so I'm working there. You know, just helping out my chances, getting on the field. Corner, nickel back, safety, I need to do them all, trying to improve my chances of making the team.

Q: What do you need to show as a returner?
I gotta work on my fundamentals. I need to show them my fundamentals, my footwork, that I can catch the ball on my chest, not on my pads. It's the little things they're looking for, stuff that people watching at home wouldn't see, only a coach understand. He knows what he's looking for, and you have to show him.

Q: What about coming from a smaller school?
Hey, I come from the Big 12! We all come from different places, but were all here with the same goals, from D3 to D1.

Q: Do you think your experience as a college returner works in your favor?
I don't think anybody caught as many punts as I did. Maybe Reggie Bush or someone, I don't know, but I think I handled the most. But I'll just keep working on catching the ball, show them that I'm going to catch it, that's my first priority, and then go from there.

Q: Troy Brown is a guy that's great as a returner. Have you spoken with him at all?
I haven't had a chance to talk to any of the Patriots yet. I gotta beat out the rookies before I beat out the vets.

Q: Can you beat out the rookies?
Well see.

Be sure to check the Hot News for regular player updates.

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