Chris Cooley participated in his first mini-camp practice as a NFL player this week. The Utah State tight end/H-back was drafted by the Redskins in the third round (81st overall) of last Saturday's draft.
Q: So how are you feeling after your first practice--do you feel a little overwhelmed?
A: "There's so much in the playbook and there's so much to learn, especially for the first day. I'm trying to focus as much as I can and get as much out of the three days I'm here as I can."
Q: What goes through your mind as you prepare for mini-camp?
A: "I just tried to focus on learning the plays, but there was a point last night where I just lost everything. I stayed up a little late and studied the playbook, but I still felt comfortable out there today."
Q: Was practice like what you thought it would be?
A: "It was more than I thought. I don't think I had any expectations until I got here. It seemed really fast."
Q: Was there any moment where it hit you that you're now a NFL player?
A: "I think maybe when LaVar Arrington had a sack and he was talking it up, and I'm thinking to myself, 'LaVar Arrington is right here in front of me.'"
Q: What's the biggest difference you see between the college and pro games?
A: "They're bigger and faster--that's the main difference. Everyone is huge. That's completely different for me. Usually I'm one of the bigger guys. Now everyone's really big."
Q: Does the playbook here seem similar at all to your playbook in college?
A: "Yeah, there are a lot of similarities. Small differences, with the way we move...but you get the same effect with how the plays are run."
Q: Was there anything in practice that totally surprised you?
A: "The speed, and then with no pads on, I've never played like that. We were full speed with no pads, hitting and blocking. It's a lot different."
Q: Did you play against a lot of college players who went on to the NFL?
A: "I wouldn't say a lot of players, but we played against Nebraska and Arizona State. The year before, we played LSU. We played in the Sun Belt Conference, and usually there are one or two NFL players in the Sun Belt every year."
Q: What's been the biggest difference for you since you've come to the east coast?
A: "You know, I've only been around here in Ashburn. But there are no mountains. That's about the only difference I've seen. I haven't been to the city yet."