Catching up with: Raleigh McKenzie

He played for Joe Gibbs and Joe Bugel and was a solid offensive lineman for the Redskins, playing all over. He's still in town and he sounds like every other Redskins fan: anxious to see what happens this season.

Q: What are you doing these days?

A: I'm almost finished with school at Marymount. I'm getting my Master's Degree in education and I've been substitute teaching in Fairfax County.

Q: Why did you want to become a teacher?

A: I always wanted to be in the education profession and I just always wanted to teach. I started subbing two years ago and I helped coach with Donnie Warren at Centreville. I wanted to teach younger kids and so, instead of just getting a teaching certificate, I wanted to get my Master's.

Q: How close are you?

A: I have three more classes to go. And then hopefully I'll be teaching full-time. I'll also help coach football at Herndon.

Q: How anxious are you for this season?

A: It's good to see those guys back. They have a certain level of love for the game that should spread -- if these kids take heed of it. Joe Gibbs definitely lays down a good path for them and he lays down the groundwork so you're not just successful for one game or the first six. Gibbs' teams, they're going to be mentally conditioned to the point where you win in December. Here lately, the Redskins had been floundering in December.

Q: What is a Joe Gibbs training camp like?

A: His thing is that you get the brunt of your work during practice. He's not big on conditioning. You don't save anything during practice so you can run windsprints afterward. But you'll be running in practice and you'll go through practice the right way. And you'll get your plays down right. If you don't know what you're doing you won't get in there. There are just subtle things that once you get on game film, you won't see careless mistakes or kids running the wrong way, or the wrong routes or the quarterback going the other way and you won't see the line not communicating up front. If you don't do that with Bugel, he'll have you do it before and after practice until you get it right. The biggest thing the players will learn is the extra effort that you have to put into it.

Q: So Bugel will hound guys to study extra film?

A: If you don't do it individually then you'll do it with the coach and you'll watch it together. What they're trying to do is develop team leaders. Hopefully Jansen and Chris will step it up.

Q: Have you talked to other ex-teammates about Gibbs' return? What's the feeling like among the alumni?

A: Yeah we've talked. A lot of guys when they come in, like an Ed Simmons or a Reggie Branch, the first thing they want to do is go to Redskins Park. Everybody is buzzing about it. It's not just the fans, it's the former players and coaches. I saw Richie Petitbon and Larry Peccatiello and they're all excited.


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