It would be fair to assess Ryan Kerrigan’s first training camp as anti-climactic, at least so far. There was a lot of hype, a lot of anticipation, and then his first day on the field was marred by a pesky bone bruise.
But Kerrigan isn’t discouraged or overly-anxious, as he’s been busy with the famed “mental reps.”
Mental reps are the process of practicing vicariously through a teammate, and watching what they do in order to understand a scheme better.
Technically you and I can do mental reps at outside linebacker too, we just wouldn’t get that much out of it.
For the time being, he has relied on the instruction of his coaches, and his fellow Bash Brother, outside linebacker Brian Orakpo. Orakpo also went through the transition from line to linebacker and has shared his wisdom with Kerrigan.
“He’s an extension of the coaching staff out on the field,” Kerrigan said of Orakpo. “You hear that thrown around a lot, whether it’s college or pros, but he really is. It’s really good to have a guy like that out on the field.”
Orakpo has no need to feel threatened by Kerrigan, since there are plenty of sacks to go around. But there’s a lot more to playing the position of linebacker than just rampaging in the backfield.
“One of the things that he’s really helped with me, is he’s explained to me what he has to do on certain defenses,” Kerrigan explained. “If I know what he has to do, then that helps me out. Whether he has to cover the tight end, that means I have to cover the back, or vice versa. He’s been really helpful in that.”
One aspect of the game that’s going to have to come quickly for Kerrigan is the concept of coverage against tight ends and running backs. At Purdue, he referred to his “tunnel vision” for the backfield.
“Certainly, there’s a lot of coverage involved with this defense, and it’s not something that I’ve done a lot in college,” he said. “In fact, very little but I’m something that I’m gonna have to do and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Even though No. 53 has been relegated to the sidelines during practice, he’s moving around a lot better now and is expected to be cleared for practice in a couple days. When he does play, he expects to be better adjusted to the flow of the pro game.
“It’s just faster and a lot different,” he said. “In the two-point stance, you can see everything that’s going on and you just have to adjust, and you just have to drop a lot more. So, those are the biggest challenges, but I’m getting it down.”
Fear not if this was a little dry for the blog. We’ll let Kerrigan get back out on the field before we berate him with questions about his iPod playlist.
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