Senior Bowl: Thursday Buzz

The North team practice on Thursday could be described as being 'painful'. With most scouts already waiting in the Mobile airport, the crowd was sparse but that doesn't mean the buzz around the fences stopped.

Still present were a number of coaches and scouts, trying to get in those last tidbits of information to complete their week long assessment. If anything, those still filling the seats at Ladd-Peebles Stadium were on hand to keep the players on the field honest.

Essentially no player was allowed to take a play off, practice was full speed ahead until the whistle blows. This commitment has been the defining aspect of this week.

New York Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin was a visible figure on the sidelines for the morning practice. Standing along, center stage, the veteran coach provided a few words regarding what he looks for from this event.

"Guys who are focused, and can communicate well," Coughlin said. "They have to show the ability to be flexible."

Coughlin also added some comments in conjunction with the Super Bowl next week. He defined the Patriots as a team that does what it has to do to beat the opponent and something he strives for in his own defense.

There was just as many agents on the field on Thursday as there were players. Agent Frank Murtha explained the process and what really matters in the end. He warned that the first contract was slotted and didn't matter a whole lot to their future.

"What you do when you get to camp is the important thing," Murtha said. "(Camp) is a vehicle to get in you in door."

Murtha prefers to keep guys who fit a particular mold. He doesn't want the head cases and profiles the players he adds.

What about the scouting process? What makes a first rounder a bust and a seventh rounder a fantastic find?

"You can't measure a guys heart," Murtha added. "Scouting in an inexact science."

As for the practice session, the players came out in helmets and jerseys but no pads. It was a very inspiring - really (dripping with sarcasm). The session lasted just over an hour and consisted of some short yardage work, field goals, kickoffs, and assorted individual drills.

The play on the field was lackluster in some aspects. Akron quarterback Charlie Frye was off today and none of the three quarterbacks seemed crisp. In fairness, it was tough to get going under the conditions.

One scout noted that Frye held his elbow in too tight and his passes were too high as a result. Another scout who joined the conversation said Connecticut quarterback Dan Orlovsky "has no feet" and the third scout in the group complained about Purdue's Kyle Orton, saying his arm release took forever to deliver the ball.

On a positive note, one AFC scout had nothing but good things to say about Stanford tight end Alex Smith. He called him the number one tight end prospect in the nation, ahead of Heath Miller. "Alex Smith is a beast," the scout said.

With a walkthrough practice tomorrow, the Raiders and their staff have completed the tough part of the week. A few more meetings this week and the game on Saturday is all that remains for the North team.

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