Day 1 of Senior Bowl practices are in the books as Head Coach Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins staff got their first look at the National team on Tuesday in Mobile, Alabama.
Yesterday, on Drive Time with Travis Wingfield, the Executive Director of the Reese's Senior Bowl Jim Nagy detailed the value of coaching this game for the staffs of the Dolphins and the Carolina Panthers.
Tuesday, Flores detailed the advantages of being on the practice field and being around the 135 prospects in Mobile this week.
"Getting face time with these guys – in a practice setting, in a meeting setting – along with the individual meetings that we do in the evening, I think all of it's advantageous for us," Flores said. "Especially the practice time and the meeting time to see how guys learn and really get to know them as people."
At least one on-looker came away impressed in his evaluation of the pace and energy of the National team's practice under Flores and staff.
What does that practice look like? It starts with planning and preparation. Flores detailed what this week is all about in terms of the Dolphins coaches' duty to the prospects.
"We give them all information – let's call it a schematic, X's and O's standpoint," Flores said. "We spend a lot of time on the fundamentals. Each position has it's set of fundamentals – footwork, hand placement, ball security, running, accuracy, every position is a little bit different. The idea is to take those fundamental drills from the individual period and then apply them in the one-on-one period and then apply them in a group setting, and then finally apply them in a team setting. That's kind of the process."
"We're looking for them to apply the things that they've learned from an individual, to a one-on-one, to a group period to a team period; and then, 'ok, I worked that drill here, and this is where it applies.' Here it applies in a one-on-one setting, here it applies in a group setting, maybe four 4-on-4 or 7-on-7 or 9-on-7, and then you go into the team period," he continued. "That's really the process. And we're looking for guys to apply the things we teach them over and over and over again, and improve and get better."
With that first-hand look at the prospects, the Dolphins coaching staff gets an up-close opportunity to find which players fit the criteria that Flores and company are looking for.
"We're looking for guys who are tough, who are smart, who are competitive, who love to play, love to practice, who are looking to get better, want to improve and guys who are team-first," Flores said. "Those are sort of the intangibles we're looking for and if a guy has that and is talented, then I imagine he'll do the things and make the sacrifices necessary to make himself the best player he can possibly be."
The Senior Bowl television schedule is more expansive today and tomorrow. Coverage of both practices can be seen on ESPNU (starting at 12:30 p.m. ET) with the nightly recap show on NFL Network at 8:00 p.m. ET.
USA Today's Draft Wire published a comprehensive, position-by-position look at the prospects in Mobile.
You can also find player measurements and weigh-ins on the SeniorBowl.com and on the official Twitter page @Seniorbowl.
During this draft process, players will be analyzed through every lens imaginable. While every physical and mental test serves a purpose, good players are good players.
"If you're a good player – I mean, you can nitpick all you want about a guy's size – good players are good players are good players," Flores said.