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05 May 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 Rookie Mini-Camp Media Availability (5/5/17)

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Wide Receiver Riley Cooper
Wide Receiver Chris Godwin
Tight End O.J. Howard
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(On what he saw from tight end O.J. Howard and wide receiver Chris Godwin today)
“Well, there’s a lot of athletic guys out here but those guys definitely stand out with their athleticism. We’re trying to evaluate a lot of guys at the same time but obviously your draft picks are guys that you’re looking at especially.”
(On what he likes about wide receiver Riley Cooper)
“I really didn’t get to watch him too much today to be honest with you. I’ll go in and take a look at it on the tape but he’s a guy that we decided to bring in, take a look at. He’s an experienced guy, we committed to him before the draft that we were going to bring him in. A guy with size and experience and we’re looking to increase our depth at wide receiver. Now, we did address that in the draft and free agency but we’ll see how it goes. We’ve got eight wide outs out here working and we’ll see how that carries over.”
(On what he likes about tight end Antony Auclair)
“We did a lot of work on Antony, watching the Canadian film was interesting. We were looking to improve our depth at our ‘Y’ tight end position. We didn’t know at that time that O.J. (Howard) was going to fall to us in the draft. We thought Antony was a draftable player at tight end, we were excited about maybe drafting him in one of the later rounds. The fact that we were able to get him as a free agent – I think when you just look at our tight end group that we have out here, it’s a good looking group. So, we’re excited about Antony.”
(On if there’s a specific position group that offers the greatest chance for undrafted players to make the roster)
“Well, there’s opportunity everywhere. If a guy’s good enough, he’s good enough and that’s the beauty of it. From a numbers standpoint, I would think linebacker is one. Linebacker and corner are maybe two positions that we’re not as deep at as some others. But, we just talked about Antony Auclair the tight end. I mean, I think there’s another guy that’s going to be in the mix.”
(On if there was a specific undrafted linebacker that he wanted to sign the most after the draft concluded)
“No, we honestly had a list that we were working down but all those guys had really good college careers. That’s why we want to take a look at them.”
(On what he saw of wide receiver Derel Walker and his impression of players that have played previously in the CFL)
“Well I’ve never really had a receiver coming out of the CFL before. Derel’s been with us in Phase Two so, he didn’t really get many balls thrown his way today. I really did get to look at him though, you know, last week in Phase Two workouts. Derel played with Mike Evans of course at Texas A&M, so Mike vouches for him. He’s a guy that’s got really nice hands. He’s kind of going through a steep learning curve right now, so he’s not able to maybe play as fast as he would like to. But, he’s definitely an intriguing prospect.”
(On the current expectations for Howard)
“All those guys that you have high hopes for, they’ve got to learn fast. They have to get in the book and learn on the run. The way the rules are this year, after mini-camp those guys are going to have to leave for a week. Then they’ll just come back, they’ll only be here for five weeks in the offseason program. That’s a week shorter than last year so it’s definitely a steep learning curve. What we don’t get in the offseason program we’ll have to get in training camp.”
(On the opportunity to work out with the Buccaneers)
“Well, I found out about the workout on Sunday, so I only had a few days. But, it’s a great opportunity and I’m sure excited about it and I’m trying to make the best of it. Go out there, try to make some plays, run around and kind of spread my knowledge to maybe some of the younger guys if I can be of any help. I’m a hometown Tampa boy, so it’s cool to be back.”
(On whether practice was difficult today after being out of the NFL last season)
“Obviously, I didn’t feel 100 percent out there today. One, my body just kind of getting back into the routine of practicing and all that and then it’s a new scheme, a completely new coaching staff and you’re thinking a lot and trying to move. It will take a little bit of getting used to, but like I said, I’m super excited about the opportunity.”
(On what he has done with his free time during his break from football)
“I’ve just been fishing and working out to be honest with you. So, nothing too special.”
(On the possible opportunity to play with quarterback Jameis Winston)
“He’s a Florida State guy and I’m a Gator, but I’ll let it slide. I watched him at Florida State and I watched and played against him in the league when I was in Philly. Just yesterday, we watched a lot of film on some routes and things and I was watching him. He’s a heck of a player. He’s super talented and smart. He makes good reads and it would be fun. It would be an honor to play with Jameis. He’s a heck of a quarterback and I think he’ll be in Tampa a long time.”
(On if he was surprised to not get an opportunity since getting cut from Philadelphia)
“I was in Philly for six years and I got cut. I was expecting to get picked up somewhere and I didn’t. It was hard to keep training and trying to stay ready and ready without seeing that light at the end of the tunnel. I just kept grinding and grinding and the opportunity is finally here and you’ve got to make the best of it though. There’s a lot of guys. There’s 90 guys fighting for 53 spots and we will see how it goes. But, I’m really excited and all of the wideouts in the room that I’ve met so far are really good dudes.”
(On whether it is humbling to come to a rookie mini-camp after having prior experience in the league)
“I don’t think it’s humbling, it’s an honor. An NFL team is giving you the chance to make their roster. I don’t think it’s humbling at all. I think it’s just a great opportunity and like I keep telling you, you’ve got to make the best of it, so we will see, but I am excited.”
(On how practice felt today)
“I was a little nervous at first, but when you get out here, it just goes back to doing what you’ve always done, which is play football. But, I think the first day went really well. Obviously, there’s a lot of guys flying around, a lot of guys eager to really get going, so it was a lot of fun.”
(On setting his first impression to the organization this weekend)
“I think for me, it’s just making sure I have the playbook down, making sure I’m good with all the terminology because obviously, it is foreign to a lot of us, just the correct terminology. But, just getting that all down pat and really just coming out here and showing them what we can do.”
(On whether or not he believes Penn State prepared him for the NFL)
“I definitely think it helped me to get to this point. My first years at Penn State, we had more of a pro-stylish offense. Then obviously, this past year, we had a switch up of coordinators that went to spread no huddle. I think just the experience that I got with all the different offenses has really prepared me for this moment.”
(On how he feels about becoming a part of the Buccaneers offense)
“Honestly, it’s surreal man. This is something that I’ve dreamed about my entire life and to really be here at this moment - obviously, it was a lot of hard work that went into it, there’s still a lot of hard work ahead, but I’m thrilled to be here.”
(On whether or not he feels like he is in a good spot on the Buccaneers offense)
“Yeah, I definitely think so. Obviously, we have guys like [wide receivers] Mike [Evans] and DeSean [Jackson] here and with [tight ends Cameron] Brate and O.J. [Howard] and [wide receiver] Adam Humphries. So, I think it’s a good situation for me to come in and really learn. Not only the offense, but learn how to be a pro and how to approach things the right way and really learn how to be the best receiver that I can be.”
(On working with Calvin Johnson leading up to the draft)
“Working with Calvin was awesome. Obviously, he doesn’t do much with football nowadays, but I was blessed for him to come down and work with me and allow me to pick his brain a bit. We went on the field for a little bit and he taught me some things as far as receiver work, transitions, things that work for him. Then we went into the classroom and started watching film, breaking down some things that I can do better when I got to this level. So, for him to work with me was awesome.”
(On how his first NFL practice felt)
"It felt great. I think the reality finally set in on me when I put on the jersey, went out with the team and competed."
(On his impressions on the Bucs' playbook)
"Not bad at all. It requires studying every day so you can learn it. Every day you put more on it, so you've got to learn new things every day and remember what you learned yesterday. But so far it's not bad at all."
(On the final message from his family before he came to Tampa)
"Just, 'Have fun, good luck.' They knew this was coming, so they weren't too sad about that. They just wished me luck."
(On what his mom said)
"She just said good luck and she'll see me soon."
(On if his mother cried when he was leaving)
"No, she didn't cry this time, so that was different."
(On his impressions of Jameis Winston)
"I haven't had a chance to work with him yet, but I know that will come up pretty soon after the rookie mini-camp is over. I'm excited about that. I think it's going to be very interesting."
(On if he had a chance to talk with WR Riley Cooper)
"I did. I talked to him earlier when I was getting my ankles taped. I just told him about watching him at Florida when I was growing up. I didn't know it was him until he introduced himself at the team meeting  yesterday. I just told him what type of player he was; I really looked up to him growing up, so it was very cool to meet him."
(On if Cooper gave him advice)
"We didn't have time. We didn't really have time to talk. I'm sure we'll have time to talk coming up these next few days, but he's a really cool guy."
(On his former Alabama teammate T Korren Kirven)
"He knows, he knows what it takes to be successful. He played at Alabama with me. Hard work, he knows how to do that. He knows how to compete, he knows how to go out there and block, play hard. I think if you know what to do, when it comes to the rest of it you'll be fine."
(On the Buccaneers' playbook compared to the one at Alabama)
"Very similar. Very similar, just different names, different terminology. That's what makes it kind of easy right now, because it's kind of a similar to the offense we ran at Alabama. But like I said, every day you have to learn something new, so that will be the most difficult part, I think."
(On studying on his own)
"You just have to double-up. You have to study two installs a night. That's just something you have to do. You have to keep looking over it, and then I write it down so I can remember it. You have to go those extra steps just to retain it."
(On if he had a conversation with Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban since the draft)
"He called me, actually, the night of the draft. I didn't see it until the next morning; there were so many calls I missed. I didn't get a chance to call him back, so I haven't talked to him since the draft."
(On if he was nervous at all at practice)
"No, not really. At first, [I was] just kind of nervous about what was going to be expected. But once I looked at the script and saw what was going on, it wasn't as bad once I got out there."
(On if he got any advice from his coach before practice)
"Just go out and compete. Everybody in the tight end room, all three of us, knew what to do. He just told us, 'You guys know what to do, you're prepared, just go out there and execute the plays.

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