Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Offensive Lineman Caleb Benenoch
Defensive Back Ryan Smith
HEAD COACH DIRK KOETTER
(On where offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch has been practicing)
“Right now he was working at right guard for this camp. You know, Caleb is one of those guys – because of those west coast schools that are on the trimesters or whatever they’re called – we’re going to lose him for a while. So he’s not going to be able to be back with us until June which is unfortunate, but it’s just one of those things. It’s just part of the rule because he’s a young guy. He’s a guy that – like a lot of our linemen – they learn multiple spots anyway, but he’s playing right guard for right now.”
(On how prepared the rookies have been to learn)
“When these guys come to a camp like this, they’re wide-eyed. I mean, they’re definitely ready to learn because they know – some of these guys – their jobs depend on it, so they’re definitely listening and paying attention.”
(On if any of the undrafted rookies are standing out)
“Yeah, definitely. There always is, there always is. Like I said yesterday, it’s always amazing the talent level of guys that are still out there after the draft. All of the hoopla that surrounds the draft and everybody – all the publicity and everything which is great – but there are still a lot of really good football players. Unfortunately we only have 90 spots. We’re going to let some good football players go tomorrow that we would like to keep around here.”
(On why Benenoch is practicing at guard)
“He’s a multi-position guy and just based on the numbers that we have, we have to fit him in wherever we can. He’s got some versatility to him some of the other guys don’t.”
(On the performance of guard Dominique Robertson)
“He’s a big man, number one. He’s a big, powerful man. Obviously we had some recon on him because he’s related to [offensive line coach/run game coordinator] George [Warhop]. He was actually in here last year visiting George on a family matter and I got to just meet him over a weekend. It just worked out. We thought he was going to be drafted somewhere, worked out that he wasn’t and we’re fortunate to be able to get him in here.”
(On drafting defensive back Ryan Smith and offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch and playing them at different positions than they played collegiately)
“Well both of those guys you’re talking about – Ryan Smith and Caleb Benenoch – both of those guys played both positions at college. I mean, they both started at both positions, so as we said going back to the day we drafted those guys, versatility in the later rounds is key. You’ve got to have multi-positions guys, you’ve got to have guys that can play more than one spot. Look at a guy like [tackle] Kevin Pamphile. Last year his versatility is what kept him here and he did a lot of great things for us on offense. That’s just one example.
(On how Ryan Smith has performed at safety)
“He’s looked fine. I mean, he’s transitioning. He played two years at safety, then corner, then back to safety. He’s learning a new system. I think he pulled up a little bit, had a little soreness today. He’s going to do fine. His quickness and athleticism jump off the tape at you when you’re watching it. What we’re doing right now, it’s too early to get too carried away with these guys.”
(On safety Elijah Shumate’s interceptions during practice)
“Well, there was a couple of interceptions out there. There was a couple of interceptions off tipped balls. You know, there’s a lot of stuff going on, between pass rush, quarterbacks being late. Vernon Hargreaves made a beautiful interception on an option route out there. Quarterback was a little late and he cut in front of it, made a nice play, but there’s guys making nice plays on both sides of the ball and we just have to temper everything with just helmets on.”
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN CALEB BENENOCH
(On how the rookie mini-camp is going for him)
"It's going great. I'm having a lot of fun. I've met a lot of cool people, getting close to guys, the offensive line is jelling with the guys we have right now so it's a lot of fun."
(On playing right guard in this camp)
"[Offensive Line] Coach [George] Warhop wanted to start me at guard. Probably going to move outside at some point but I'm a versatile guy and that's what he wanted when he picked me up so I'm going to do whatever he needs me to do."
(On coming out a year early)
"I'm a competitor. I want to compete at this level. That's what basically made my decision to come out. I see all my friends coming out, I see everybody I played against compete at this level and I feel like I have the tools and the ability to do so, so I wanted to take that leap. Now I've got that opportunity."
(On if the fact that he had already started 35 college games was the reason he came out)
"No, it wasn't that, because you can always get better. It was just me as a competitor wanting to play against the best players in the world. That's kind of what it was. I watched everybody on Sundays and I'm like, 'I want to do that.' And I got the opportunity to do so, so I took it."
(On promising his mother he would get his college degree)
"I was on course at UCLA to graduate in three years and a quarter. Had I stayed for four years I would have graduated earlier than most, like January 17th, so I have about 10 classes left in my poli-sci major. So I'll be done pretty soon."
(On what he wanted to show in camp)
"My athleticism, my movement, being able to play different positions. I didn't take a lot of in-game guard snaps during my college career up until this season. Coming in here and doing every rep and every play, just showing that I can bring a lot of versatility and hopefully compete."
(On if he likes being thrown into a new position)
"Yeah, I love it. I'm for it. I love the challenge. That's why I came out, so I can compete and get coached by the best. Coach Warhop is a great coach, so I'm looking forward to learning a lot from him."
(On what he needs to work on)
"Technique for offensive line, that's the biggest thing. Technique is crucial to winning and losing every play. So technique for me, getting bigger and stronger in the weight room and just learning, soaking up all the knowledge I can."
DEFENSIVE BACK RYAN SMITH
(On the biggest transition from college to the NFL)
“Knowledge – that’s the big thing. Learning that playbook. It’s a lot different in college, especially at safety, so knowledge is the big thing. That’s what I really want to get out of this, so I can play fast.
(On how he feels his own transition has gone this weekend)
“It’s better than I thought it would be. I’m handling it better than I thought I would, so it’s going pretty well.”
(On the learning curve)
“It’s just a lot. You really have to be in tune. You really have to pay attention. You can’t miss a thing or you’re really going to be lost out there. So me being coachable and knowing that a lot is coming my way, it helps me to understand more.”
(On having experience at both cornerback and safety)
“That helps me in a way of knowing where everybody on the field is supposed to be, as well as myself. You’re right, corner did help me with ball skills and everything, and playing safety in college at first, before corner, helped me learn where everybody on the field is supposed to be. So it just helped me be a better player.”
(On if he feels he has an opportunity to make the active roster)
“Most definitely. I always knew I had an opportunity, I just had to make the best of it. My path here was a blessing and I just have to make the best of it.”
(On having a chip on his shoulder)
“I still feel like I’m doubted. I still feel like people don’t know what I can do, so I’m just here to prove it.”