When Sedrick Ellis hit the field for the Saints rookie minicamp, his thoughts were on making a good first impression.
"Well, being a first-round pick, you have a level of pressure; you want to make a good impression," Ellis said. "The tempo was very high, everyone wants to come out and be seen. Everything was very fast-paced."
Ellis was ready, he said, having spoken with fellow defensive tackle Reggie Bush about what to expect. "All in all, I think it went very well. I'm with a coach (defensive line coach Ed Orgeron) that I've worked with before, so I kind of knew what to expect."
Orgeron coached Ellis at the University of Southern California.
"Coach O is a hard coach, you know he's going to work to get you better, you know he isn't going to take it easy on you or anything like that. In that aspect, you are always getting better with Coach Orgeron. I think that's a good thing," Ellis said.
And Orgeron hasn't changed since the first time Ellis worked out with him, Ellis said. "He knows my strengths and weaknesses, so I think that's a good combination.
While Ellis spent rookie camp concerned about his first impression on the Saints coaching staff, he's prepared to work hard to maintain it. The Saints traded up three selections to acquire Ellis on draft day, giving up their No. 10 overall pick ans a third-rounder to move up.
He hopes his hard work and talent will mean some playing time in the '08 season.
"Right now, you don't know, that's up to the coaches," he said. "I'm going to work my hardest to put my stamp on this team and work my hard. I'm going to compete for everything I can get."
Ellis is also adjusting to New Orleans, including the city's heat and humid weather, which is different from southern California's milder climate.
"Even when you work out in California and you think you are in shape, the air is a little different here and you have to get acclimated. …" he said. "My body is getting used to it and we're working it out. I think I came in here in pretty good shape."
And there's the New Orleans food.
Ellis wouldn't be the first Saints lineman to take advantage of New Orleans plentiful restaurants and reputation as a diner's delight, but, he said, he's ready to fight the temptation.
"It's always a concern for a big guy, but as a professional now, you have to be disciplined, get your workouts in and watch your eating habits," Ellis said.
His focus now is on improving, although he's pleased with the rate at which he's learning the Saints' system and plays.
"I've been able to grasp them pretty quickly and to apply them to the field," he said. "You can always get better, but that's the stuff I'm working on. I haven't been able to play football in awhile, but that's the kind of things I'm working on."