The Oakland Raiders donned pads for their seventh practice of Training Camp 2013, presented by California National Guard. Today marked exactly one week until the Silver and Black host the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 of the 2013 preseason and the rookies will take the O.co Coliseum field for the first time. They will experience Raider Nation in full force.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never seen a fan base like this before,” said 3rd-round selection LB Sio Moore. “They’re so passionate. They’re so juiced up. They make you want to go out there and go hard and I’m excited for what we’ve been doing in camp and how hard we’ve been working and it’s going to show when we get into games.”
Seventh-round draft choice DE David Bass has never played in front of a large crowd having played for a small football program at Missouri Western State University. “It’s going to be huge, especially coming from a small school where I was playing in front of 4,000-5,000 a week. The most I’ve played in front of is like 12 or 13,000 so getting ready to be in front of one of these NFL crowds is going to be huge.”
The players have had the opportunity to experience a small group of Raiders season ticket holders during training camp practices, but nothing like what they’ll see at the stadium.
“It’ll be pretty awesome,” said 6th-rounder TE Nick Kasa. “I’m assuming it’s going to be just great. I’ve heard great things about the Black Hole and all that. I’ve never been to a Raiders game at the stadium, but I’m excited to see what it’s like.”
The rookies are looking forward to seeing the fans, but the anticipation is just as high for their first NFL competition. So far they’ve only hit their own teammates. Next Friday will be a chance to hit some Cowboys.
“What I’m going to do is just take it as it’s a game and go [all] out just like I would in college in a scrimmage because everybody is watching,” said WR Brice Butler, one of the Raiders 7th-round selections. “Coach [Olson], Coach Gilmore, they’re always like, ‘perform to outperform the other 31 teams in the league.’”
The rookies have their mindsets right because they are not looking too far ahead. They know they have a long way to go to be ready for a real game. “I have a lot of stuff to learn before then and a lot to get perfected,” explained Moore. “I want to go out there and really want to get it done the right way. I’m excited like hell though because…what…you know what I mean? It’s the NFL!”
Bass wants to stay focused and consume as much knowledge as he can before taking the O.co Coliseum field.
“[The anticipation] is very high, but at the same time, I’m still trying to focus on the now and take everything in, get better at run, get better at pass, work on my technique so when the game comes I’ll be ready,” said Bass.
The team has four practices and a pre-game walk-through before facing Dallas. They will use that time to prepare as much as possible.
Bass wants to continue learning and working like he has through the first week of camp. “Just continue the high intensity,” said Bass. “Learn from the vets, watching the vets, and then going out there and making the most of my reps so I can be in shape and ready to go because I heard preseason we’re going to get a majority of the snaps. I need to be ready physically and mentally.”
The rookies want to get better, want to contribute, be ready for the game, and make an impact. “Keep doing what I’m doing,” said Butler on preparing for the game. “Never get complacent. I think I’ve been doing a good job of that so far. Just handling my assignment that I have, and just going out and studying and staying diligent in my work and what I have to do, knowing all the positions and all that. I feel like just keep doing that, stay healthy of course, keep taking care of my body and I’ll be all right.”
Moore has high expectations for himself. “I want to be an expert in playing linebacker as far as reading, covering, running and diagnosing stuff and then really be a fluent pass rusher,” said Moore. “Looking at guys like Lamarr [Houston] and Andre [Carter], I want to take some of that stuff and I want to mold it into my own. They’re a little bigger. I’m a little smaller so I want to be athletic and whatnot and really just put it all together where it’s a total package – being able to cover, playing in the box and rush the passer.”
Every rep during the game and every practice is important for each player, especially the rookies.
“Every day, preseason game or not, every day your performance is monitored,” said Butler. “You have personnel guys out here watching. Our coaches do a great job of letting us know that they’re out there. Every day is the same. Of course, for us rookies, for the preseason we’ll be a little more jacked probably more than the veterans. It’s going to be fun. Just have to take every day, every rep…”
But playing against another opponent will be important for the rookies’ development. “I think the [reps] will be really important because none of the rookies have ever played in the NFL before,” said Kasa. “It’ll be good to get those reps against experienced guys and see how the jump and the level of speed changes from college to the NFL.”
Moore is ready for the challenge. “I’m trying to make an impact every play,” said the UConn product. “When you play linebacker, as they say, you should be at the ball. One of the linebackers, if not all of the linebackers, should be making the tackle. It’s the most important part of the deal with me playing linebacker because I get out there and I want to play with energy, play with passion, I want to lead and that’s going to be the biggest thing.”
The ultimate goal for each rookie, and every player for that matter, as expressed by Bass, “I want to go out and prove that I belong.”
The Raiders return to the field for their eight practice Saturday afternoon. Log on to Raiders.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for complete coverage.
Tags: Brice Butler, California National Guard, David Bass, NFL, Nick Kasa, Oakland Raiders, Preseason, Raider Nation, Rookies, Sio Moore
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