What is the biggest adjustment from college to the NFL level?
Just being precise with everything you do. Its coming to meetings early, on the field with the passing game, Matt Hasselbeck’s expecting you to be in this exact place at this exact time its all about timing.
Is there a higher emphasis on route-running at the NFL level?
Oh, yeah. Absolutely, because everyones on that field for a reason. Everyones got tons of talent. At this level, you cant rely so much on your athletic ability. You have to rely on your fundamentals, and how technical you are.
As a baseball player, how far do you think you would have gone?
I never really, really thought about playing professional baseball. I was drafted out of high school in my senior year, and also drafted this year, but it was never really something I wanted to go and pursue. After playing a few years at Notre Dame, I found out that football was what I enjoyed the most. I can see myself playing for a long time, and really enjoying it. Baseball was always an option if I wanted it to be, but I wanted to make football the priority.
You never thought of going two-sport at any point?
At this level? Oh, no! Im having enough trouble managing this sport. Itd be tough to manage two.
Better two-sport athlete: Bo or Deion?
Bo. For sure.
You were inactive your first regular-season week in the NFL, then you came back and had a great day against the Broncos in week 2. What was that week of inactivity like for you, and how did you play your way back on the roster?
I decided that I never wanted that to happen again. And I was going to do whatever it took to get on the field or, in the first place, actually dress [for the game]. To feel a part of the team. So, I came out for practice, and I was really hustling, studying a lot more film and really making sure I knew my assignments. Finishing everything in practice, and showing the coaches that I know what Im supposed to do. Just fundamentals coming in and out of my breaks, and just trying to show the coaches that I deserve to be on this field. I was going to work hard until I got there.
I was talking to Lawyer Milloy this week, and hes really the advisor to all the young defensive backs. Do the receivers have a guy like that, who they can go to about stuff on and off the field?
Absolutely Deion Branch has been great for me. Any questions I have about the offense, or any problems I have in my life, hes there to help me out. For the most part, every day after practice, we get some extra conditioning in not because he needs the reps, but because I do. When a guy makes an effort to help me because he thinks I can help this team, you have to appreciate it. So, Im very appreciative to have a veteran guy to show me the way to show me how to practice, show me what I need to do when Im having a problem with this or that look. How I need to break down film, and things like that.
Have you talked to Jimmy Clausen since he got the starting job in Carolina?
Not much I talked to him on Monday, and hes pretty excited. I think hes ready, if he can get in sync with the line and his receivers. I think hes going to do very well, both now and in the future. He may have a few mistakes early on, but once he gets in a rhythm, hes hard to stop.
Whats his primary attribute that you think will transfer well to the NFL?
Watching him versus other quarterbacks in college, and even at this level, he has a sense of technique and fundamentals. You can tell that hes a very well-coached quarterback. Now, he just needs to understand routes and coverages [with the Panthers], and I think hes going to be very successful.
Hes throwing to a guy in Steve Smith that a lot of people compare you to is Smith the guy you kind of model yourself after?
Yeah, definitely hes a guy I like to model my game after. Hes a very physical guy with the same kind of build same kind of speed, also. I think that we play alike. I want to have the kind of swagger he has on the field, and also make the big plays that he makes. Im not sure that he might not be even shorter than me, but he plays very tall. Im not sure that at my height (5-foot-10), there arent many players like me.
Being that you were a tailback in high school, and youre kind of built like a running back, do you see some end-arounds or trick plays in your future? Maybe throwing some passes in an Antwaan Randle El role?
You know what? Anything I can do, Im gonna do it. And thats one of the things Im hearing from veterans here the more you can do, the longer you will stay around. Im not going to turn down any way to get the ball in my hands, and Id love to see that happen.