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This is the second 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.
The first day in pads was definitely fun. This was the first day I’ve been in pads since January 6 when Rutgers beat Ball State in the International Bowl. It’s been a long time for me, so I was just trying to shake off the rust and be physical. There were a couple of good, physical 1-on-1’s with me going against Chris Hovan and Kevin Carter today. Those guys have been playing this game so long that when you think you’ve got them beat, they’ve got something new for you. Then it’s “bam” – and I’m on the floor. The rookie class is pretty tight and I had a good time going against Dre` Moore today. As soon as you step on this field, it’s all competition and we’re all trying to bring the best out in each other. But I had a pretty good day against Dre` today.
When you get up to the line of scrimmage, so much stuff is going through your head. You’ve got the play, the snap count and you’ve got to see who your opponent is. You’ve got to be alert as to who it is because every guy presents a different challenge for you. On run plays, it’s more or less the same because you have to use the same technique on all the run plays pretty much, no matter who your opponent is. But when it’s a pass play and the center gives you a call, at guard you have to see if you have a 1-on-1 situation or not. Then you have to look at your opponent and remember what his best move is or what he tries to beat you with. It’s a lot to remember, but it’s football. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it.
My roommate, Jeff Faine, is so cool. That’s my dude right there. When we’re in meetings or on the football field, that’s when I ask him my football-related questions. When we’re in the room together at night I’m just trying to learn what life is like and ask those type of questions. What was his rookie year like? What would we he have done differently? What did he do well? He told me he came in as a first-round pick and tried to live up to expectations. He had played center for four years in college and he did what got him to the NFL. That’s what he told me. Do the same things you’ve always done and do what got you here.
Jeff and I aren’t messy roommates. We are both chill dudes. We keep the room straight. We both snore a little bit, I guess. Maybe that’s an O-line thing. We just have a good time and joke back and forth a little bit when we’re in the room.
After the afternoon practice we try to get some lifting in and then eat dinner right afterwards. Sometimes you’ve got to go in and watch some extra film and see what you’ve done wrong from that day. Then we have meetings in the evening, so we really don’t have a lot of free time at night. We’re done for the day around 10:00 p.m., so it’s a real long day. I usually get to sleep pretty quickly. If there are any questions I’ve got, I stay up to ask Coach Muir real quick or I’ll ask Jeff. Then I’ve got to have a little phone time to talk to my girl and my parents for a bit before I go to bed. I get up between 6:30 a.m. and 6:50 a.m. and do it all over again.
And if you are wondering, I’m definitely not fatigued yet. We’re just getting into it at camp. If you are fatigued right now you’re in trouble. I worked so hard to get in shape to get ready for this I think I can go a little bit longer than three days.
Right now, I’ve been playing a lot of guard and some center. I might be playing some tackle down the road. We’ll see. Center is definitely a challenge for me right now. You’re in charge of all five guys right there. That’s a big responsibility and you have to get everybody on the same page. When I was playing tackle at Rutgers, I knew what I had to do. I saw my assignment and I just did it. Sometimes I wouldn’t even wait for the center’s call. But now, I need to get everybody on the same page. It’s great that I have the starting center on the team as my roommate. Jeff is one of the top centers in the league. My feelings about him speak for themselves. It’s definitely a blessing to be rooming with that guy so I can learn as much as I can about the center position from him.
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