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This is the first installment of Jeremy Zuttah’s Training Camp Diary, exclusively on PewterReport.com. Zuttah, the rookie offensive lineman who was Tampa Bay’s third-round pick, will be checking in with PewterReport.com three times per week with his thoughts on training camp and life in the NFL.
I’m Jeremy Zuttah, rookie offensive lineman for the Buccaneers. I went to Rutgers University and a few short months later, here I am at my first NFL training camp. Going through the mini-camps this summer was a completely new experience for me and it helped me get acclimated for what I went through today. I tried to learn as much as I could from all of the NFL vets I was around.
During my downtime before camp started, I went back to Rutgers and did the training program that I’ve been doing for the last four years. It’s so intense. Doing that program for four years helped me get here to the NFL, so why change it now and start doing something else? That’s where I’ll be each offseason before camp starts from now on.
This first year, they say this is the hardest year I’ll have. From the end of my senior season to the draft and the mini-camps, I really haven’t had much free time. I’ve just been trying to make sure that I am ready to go for my first year in the NFL. I’ve been taking a real serious approach.
On the drive up to training camp I was just relaxed. If you tense up you will not be able to perform. I just tried to relax the best I could and go over some of my notes on the way up here. I was also listening to my iPod. I got the new Tha Carter III and I also had some Jay-Z on. I’ve been trying to stay calm throughout this whole process. It hasn’t really hit me yet. I’m sure one of these days – maybe some time this season – it’s going to hit me that I’m in the NFL, but right now I’m just working. I’m just trying to take the relaxed, business-like approach.
Although I’m a third-round pick, you could never ever feel like you are safe. You can never take that approach because then you’ll get passed over. I had to come out here with the mentality that I’m competing for a starting job. That’s the only way I know how to work. I’ll play any position you ask me to, but I’m trying to compete for a starting job wherever it may be.
On my way out to the practice field this morning I was just going through the notes in my head and make sure I had everything straight. If I had any questions I was going to ask someone like Davin Joseph. I’m rooming with Jeff Faine. He’s a cool dude. I like Jeff. He’s obviously a guy who was a first-round pick and lived up to his name. Now he’s one of the best centers in the NFL. He’s one of the guys that I feel I could approach. Obviously, he’s safe and he’s got nothing to worry about, so he doesn’t have to hold anything back from me. He’s done and he’s going to keep doing it. I can learn a lot from him.
Man, Ryan Sims is a big guy. And a guy like Chris Hovan, he’s so strong. You can see that he’s like a ball of muscle. You have to stay low on him. That’s one of the things that I have to work on with guys like that. I am used to having my way with just about anybody I go against. In the NFL, everybody is just as good and just as strong. You have to bring your best on every play. A guy like Chris Hovan, that’s grown man stuff right there. He’s been doing this for so many years now that he can translate more of his weight room strength to the field than I can. Our weight room numbers – they might be pretty close. But right now, he’s got that grown man strength on me. That’s something I have to work on. I have to translate my weight room strength to the field more.
My first practice was fun. Anytime you come out here and play football you just try to go out and have fun and enjoy it. This is the best job in the world and that’s how you have to approach it.
Oh, and as for all the Brett Favre rumors, I can’t control that. If he comes here, he comes here. If I snapped the ball to him, that would be cool. But I can’t control that. All I’m trying to focus on is what I can control.
The next installment of Zuttah’s Camp Diary will be on Monday following his first practice in full pads.
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