John Carlson

2008 Notre Dame Pro Day Notes and Quotes

March 19, 2008

Below are Tom Coyne’s notes and quotes he took as the pool reporter at Notre Dame’s Pro Day. Coyne works for the Associated Press in South Bend.

The players from today’s workout are listed in alphabetical order and quotes were taken from John Carlson, Trevor Laws, John Sullivan, Travis Thomas and Tom Zbikowski.

Head Coach Charlie Weis is quoted at the end of this document.

31 scouts from 23 teams attended Notre Dame’s Pro Day

Linebacker Joe Brockington
40-yard dash time, 4.89 twice
Vertical leap 28.5
3 cone time 7.35

Notes: Worked out the same drills with Zbikowski … A lot of running and changing directions when the coaches pointed in different directions, running backward and catching passes and running side to side and catching hard thrown passes

Tight end John Carlson
Bench press 21 reps
Vertical jump 35.5 inches, jumped 30.5 in Indy
40-yard teams 4.67 and 4.72

Notes: Carlson worked out the longest of all the players, nearly a full hour … Started by catching 30 passes from Ron Powlus, alternating with Travis Thomas … Bobbled one, caught the rest … Then did line drills with John Sullivan … Some were straight on blocking, then angle blocking, then getting up off back and blocking … Blocking from knees … At the end a coach had Carlson with hands behind him, coached pushed Carlson then yanked the back of his neck and pulled him trying to get him off balance.

Quotes from John Carlson:
“I feel really good.”

(on 40 time)
“I was much more pleased with that than the 4.89 that I ran at the combine.”

(did you have the most to prove today because of poor showing at the combine?)
“I think it’s a combination of things. Obviously I was healthy, but I didn’t have my strength back. And the combine is four tough days and you workout on the fourth day. So I think it’s a combination of probably not getting my strength back and being fatigued from the four days.”

(nervous coming into today)
“I knew today was really important. Because I was sick I didn’t play in the Senior Bowl. I didn’t perform as well as I wanted to at the combine. This was king of my third and last chance to show people what I can do in this type of setting. So I put a lot of pressure on myself, but I also viewed it as an opportunity. I felt fortunate to have today as kind of a second chance.”

(frustrating that you have to prove it after the career you’ve had)
“I view this whole process as an extended interview. I’m going to do everything I can do, and anything coaches want me to do in terms of workouts, or meetings or interviews or anything to improve my status as a football player. Because it’s an interview and these are the things I need to do to prove myself.”

(frustrating to see some speculating on possibly your stock going down)
“I don’t want you guys to take offense to this, but I’m taking the same approach to this process as football here. I don’t read any print media dealing with sports, at least not my sport. I don’t watch ESPN, I don’t watch the football coverage of ESPN. I don’t look on the Internet. Because ultimately that’s not going to decide where I’m going to be drafted, that’s not going to determine where I’m going to be drafted. I continued to work hard after the combine to get healthy and I’m just glad I had this chance today.”

(Any surprises, as far as drills, such as lying on stomach and jumping up and catching pass)
“I felt pretty prepared for it because first of all because having coach Weis, he’s been through it before and he knows all the stuff that’s going to go on at a pro day. So you get a lot of advice from him.”

Carlson said Bernie Parmalee and Carlson’s agent and Anthony Fasano also helped him get ready.

(so overall a good day)
“I feel good about it.”

Center J.J. Jansen
40 times were 4.85 and 4.87
vertical leap 32.5

Defensive end Trevor Laws
Notes: Did position drills only

Quotes from Trevor Laws:
“I thought I was pretty good at the combine. I just wanted to emphasize the agility work a little bit.”

(how’d it go)
“It went good. They got the most of me. They were working me hard. I was happy with it.”

(what did you have to prove the most)
“Just show that at 305 pounds I’m still athletic, agile and can move around and my numbers at the combine, certain drills I did really well with, translate into on the field stuff. I think I did. I hope I did.”

(got any workouts coming up)
“I have a couple more individual workouts next week then I fly out to meet with a few different teams and their owners and head coaches. Aside from that, just waiting for draft day.”

(what are you expecting)
“Just as high as possible.”

Defensive end Dwight Stephenson Jr.
40 times 4.86 and 4.87
Vertical leap 34.5
3 cone time 7.46

Center John Sullivan
Notes: Did specific position drills only

Quotes from John Sullivan:
“It’s just a chance to come out and put your skills on display for the scouts again.”

(happy with results from the combine)
“I was happy with the results from Indianapolis and I think it’s gone well so far.”

(nervous out there)
“Going through the Senior Bowl and the combine, today was not quite as pressure-filled. But you just have to enjoy the chances you have to go out and compete and show what you can do. That’s what today was, so it was a fun day.”

(any idea on when you expect to be drafted)
“I’m just relaxing on it. I hope I go as high as possible to a good fit for me as a player and a team with a great coaching staff. But I have no control over that.”

(on odd drills)
“You’ve got to be prepared for everything out here. Coaches want to see how you respond, especially in unfamiliar territory. I thought it went well. A good day.”

Tailback Travis Thomas
Vertical leap 36.5
Notes: tweaked right hamstring

Quotes from Travis Thomas:
“I’m happy and pleased with how things went today.”

(how do you hope to make it in the NFL?)
“Any way possible. I’m willing to do whatever I need to do to make it on the next level and make a ball club.”

(happy with the numbers)
“It was a good day. I wasn’t happy with the bench. I only got 20 reps. I’ve done 24 before. But it is what it is.”

Safety Tom Zbikowski
3 cone time 6.83
broad jump
position specific drills
Notes: Said he didn’t do vertical and broad jump at the combine because he wasn’t feeling good.

Quotes from Tom Zbikowski:
(how’d it go today?)
“It felt good. You hear some times, but you don’t know what’s what. But some people said I had a good workout and it felt good out there.”

(what are you hearing)
“I’ve heard pretty much every round imaginable. I’ve heard ninth round, and there isn’t a ninth round. So you here about everything. April 26th and 27th will come and you find out where you’re going. But it’s frustrating not knowing.”

“Once you go the Senior Bowl and once you go the combine, you know what to expect and you know the drill. You know what’s expected of you. So it becomes second nature.”

(any workouts coming up)
“I had a couple teams say they’d be in touch with me the next several day, so we’ll see what happens.”

Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis
(general comment)
“There’s no one here that didn’t help themselves today. I think everyone helped themselves.”
“There are different things going depending on who the player is. For example, Carlson had to run a good 40, which he did. Trevor and Sullivan they were looking at more position specific things. Zibby had to run some short shuttles and things like that. I think overall when you take the whole group, I think everyone who had to do something did what they had to do. I don’t think any of them did anything but helped their value.”

(on Brockington)
“He ran OK.” “Joe Brockington is in great shape.”

(On Carlson)
“He had had a parasite and he had dropped 17 pounds and he got back up to 251 and he decided to go ahead and work out anyway even though he knew he wasn’t in very good shape.”
“He’s really helping himself.”

(on Carlson undergoing the hardest workout)
“I think some people are really interested in taking him high. What happened is you go to the combine, you come back from being sick, he runs a (4.89). Now all of a sudden people are saying he’s a third-round draft choice. Now all of a sudden you go through that workout, now all of a sudden he goes back up to the top of the board at the tight end position because now all of a sudden you run between a 4.67 and a 4.72 and you look like him, that’s the reason that workout got extended. Being an old pro coach, I can tell you that the reason you work them out more is because you become more interested as the drill goes on. Not because you become less interested.”

(if not interested?)
“You say, ‘Thanks for the workout,’ and get out of here.”

(on Jansen)
“A lot of people like J.J. A lot of people.”

(on Jansen’s 40)
“They wanted to see that after he snapped he could go down and cover a punt. And he ran well enough to do that.”

(strike you as funny that a guy can make a living off being a long snapper)
“We had Lonnie Paxton at New England who had gone to Cal-something, one of those Cal schools that isn’t Cal, I know he signed a contract, his second contract was four years, $6 million. And all he did was long snap. No position. I think he (Jansen) has a skill that allows a team to sign him cheap the first time around, you’ll be able to get him at the minimum, what’s it $300,000 or $400,000. That’s a lot of money, but for a team when you don’t have to play a veteran that you’re paying a million dollars, you can pay a guy for the minimum, it’s a good deal.”

(on Laws)
“He goes down to the combine. He bench presses 35. He goes to the Senior Bowl, performs really well there. He had a great season. Now he has a good workout in his position drill. It just kind of verifies or validates the opinions that most people have that the arrow is pointing up.”

(on Price)
“You have both J.J. and Geoff Price here who will definitely be in somebody’s camp with a chance to make teams as well.”

(on Stephenson)
“He ran really well.”
“He’s in great shape.”

(on Thomas)
“He did everything but run a 40 because he has a tweaked hamstring. He was good in the things he did, he just didn’t run a 40 for them.” “He gets the benefit of being the other guy working out with John Carlson. Because every other rep, their watching John Carlson one rep, they’re watching Travis Thomas the next rep. So it’s that many more eyes on him and gives him a chance to up his value.”

(Prove himself as possible special teams guy)
“You go back to the year he played defense a couple of years ago, to the scouts and the coaches that is a lot of value because as a special teams guy that’s a back up running back, they want to know that they can tackle. So when you’ve played defense before, it’s one of the things that gives you an added advantage.”

(On Zbikowski)
“Zibby killed it on all the things he had to do, the shuttles and all that. He didn’t run the 40 because his electronic time from the combine was a 4.44. So he chose not to run a 40, which was the right thing to do. He killed. He got everyone’s attention.”

(on not as many big names from the NFL, such as owners, GMs and head coaches, not being at the day as last year for Brady)
“But there’s a lot of interest.”

(what do you tell the players beforehand)
“We keep them calm.”

(Do scouts or teams ask you what round you think a player should go?)
“No, but because I know a lot of these guys they’ll tell me where they have them _ which I’m not at liberty to say _ and I’ll tell them, either, ‘That’s where I see him,’ or, ‘I think he’s better than that.’ Like Trevor Laws, somebody might say ‘I see him in the third round.’ And I’ll say, ‘Maybe that’s where he was, but that’s not where he is now.’ I’ll say it’s past tense.”
“But a guy like Laws, where the arrow is pointing up, his stock goes up every single day and he doesn’t have to do anything. Because everyone else has holes in them and he doesn’t have any holes in him other than he’s not 6-4. If he was 6-4, he might be the first player taken in the draft based on how he played.”

(when you were a coach, did you ever see a player do poorly on Pro Day and turn out to be a good player)
“Terrell Owens. He was a third-round draft choice. I was at his workout at Tennessee-Chattanooga he looked like a great athlete who couldn’t run routes. And look at him now. He obviously learned to run routes.”

(on about half of the returning team being present to watch the workouts, including Jimmy Clausen, Armando Allen, Sam Young, Maurice Crum Jr., Evan Sharpley)
“They know they want that to be them when they’re leaving here. I don’t make them come here. They’re coming her to A, support their teammates, but B to watch the deal and know what the pro day is all about. Because when their time comes they want to make sure they’re ready for it.”