Bryan Randall Rookie Diary #1: The Combine is Almost Here

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Bonus Features
Audio Clip #1

Randall tells us the two hardest hits he took in his Tech career.
Format: MP3
Time: 2:40
Size: 627 kb
Audio Clip #2

Randall gives his two plays of the year for the 2004 Hokies.
Format: MP3
Time: 2:02
Size: 481 kb is pleased to once again bring you a
"Rookie Diary" series covering one VT football player’s efforts to
make the NFL. This year’s Rookie Diary subject is Bryan Randall, the 2004 ACC
Player of the Year and Virginia Tech’s all-time total offense leader. Randall is
currently in Georgia preparing for the NFL Combine, which starts on February
23rd in Indianapolis.

Last year, we covered Nathaniel Adibi’s experience. Adibi
spent the 2004 season on Jacksonville’s practice squad and just recently was
signed to a contract with the Indianapolis Colts. We’ll get in touch with Adibi
soon to close out his Rookie Diary, ask about his experiences with the Jags, and
get up to speed on his situation with the Colts.

Despite being ACC Player of the Year, Bryan
Randall faces an uphill battle to make the NFL. In his ESPN Draft Tracker
profile, Scouts Inc. praises Randall’s strengths (quickness, elusiveness, pocket
presence, and toughness), gives a rundown of his weaknesses (needs to work on
mechanics, doesn’t have ideal arm strength, and is erratic and mistake-prone),
and concludes matter-of-factly, "If he can improve his accuracy and become
a better game manager, he has the potential to develop into an adequate backup.
He is a long way away from that point now, though, and will need time on [a] practice squad or in an NFL Europe type situation to continue to work on all of
his inconsistencies and technical weakness." ESPN notes that Randall’s
upside makes him a worth an NFL team spending a second-day draft pick on him.

We caught up with Randall as he prepares for the Combine
just a week away. The Combine begins February 23rd, but quarterbacks aren’t
slated to work out until Friday, February 25th. After that, Randall will work
out in at least one Pro Day session at Virginia Tech in March. Be sure to listen
to the TSL Audio bonus clips above, which contain interview material not
included in this text diary.

down in Marietta, Georgia at a place called Main Event. I’m down here with a
couple other players. It was recommended to me through my agent Terry Bolar. He
sends a lot of his guys to work down here pre-Combine, pre-Pro Day, pre-Draft,
and right now I’ve been down here two weeks, since coming back from the Hula
Bowl, working out three times a day.

In the morning, I’m dealing with a lot of running,
speed, agility, and flexibility every morning at 9 o’clock Monday through
Friday. Then I come back in the afternoon at one o’clock dealing with upper
body strength.

Right now we’re living in a hotel suite at this place
called the Sierra Suites. There’s a lot of players living here. Each suite has
one bedroom, a little kitchen area, with a refrigerator. Basically its good
enough for one person. Its just enough for me to get by and be comfortable.

All the players that have signed with my agent are staying
in the Sierra Suites, but there are some other players also. There’s probably
about 8 or 9 other players that are here working out at Main Event Gym, which is
just about a mile up the street. Dennis Haley, the linebacker from UVa is here.

As far as the two workouts go, I would say that they are
more specified towards speed. In the morning, we train more specifically on
speed, flexibility, agility, a lot of treadmill work, working on starts, stuff
that’s going to get you fast and also get you ready for the Combine, like 10
yard run drills and shuttle drills. The things we did every other day in the
summer [at Virginia Tech], like maybe two times a week with the speed and
agility, we’re doing it every day here.

I feel that it’s good to do something different. After you’ve
been at Tech for a while, you kinda get sort of routine. Sometimes its good to
kind of step out of the ordinary, to get in the mood of doing something
different. Your body has to adapt to it, but at the same time it’s exciting
because you’re doing something different.

Main Event is the name of the gym, but the company we are
working with is called Extreme Sports Enhancements, and it’s led by a guy named
Tony Boselli. It used to be the Chris Carter Speed Camp, but it switched names.
He’s worked with guys like Jamal Lewis. Right now, we’ve got with us right
now Travis Taylor. He plays for the Baltimore Ravens, and he’s out of Florida,
a first round draft pick. T.J. Jackson, who used to go to Tech, he works out
down there. The guy has a history of working with the big names, Daunte
Culpepper, some of those guys. He’s worked with some guys that are pretty
successful. Some times those guys come in there and you get to see them, and its
kind of weird to see those guys who have been successful come through there and
work out. Just on the guy’s track record, I put my trust in him.

I feel pretty good. I’ve been blessed not to have any
serious injuries while at Tech, and really I don’t have any nagging injuries
since I’ve left. You know, I’ve taken some hits in the course of the season
that beats up your body, but I’ve been able to recover. Pretty much the only
thing now is I’ve had some hip flexor problems with my left hip, but it’s
nothing that has kept me from running. A couple of stretches that I do, it kind
of bothers me, but it’s nothing serious.

Right now, they’ve told me I’m looking at anything
from fourth or fifth round to free agency, which is pretty loose. It’s kind of
early right now.

When I was younger, the NFL was never on my mind – the
NBA was. I really wasn’t thinking of playing football professionally, I was
thinking basketball. When I did start playing football in middle school, and
then in high school, that’s when it started to dawn on me that football would
be great, I think that might be my ticket.

On Winning ACC Player of the Year

Having success during my senior year didn’t really
change my perception of me, but I think it changed a lot of other people’s,
which is a good thing. You’re going to need to gain people’s respect to get
to that next level. You have to turn heads, you have to be an exceptional player
and sometimes do things over the top to make it to the next level, especially
when you’re a quarterback who’s not that tall. Some people say height is a
factor, but I’ve been throwing over people that are 6-6, 6-5 now, so getting
there has never been a question for me and I’ve never really thought about the
height problem.

I guess it was just wanting to prove something to
everybody else, because I knew what I was capable of, it was just a matter or
putting it all together and God willing, it came together for me this year.

On Finishing Last Year Strong

I guess you could say we were just executing better. My
confidence has always been there. I felt like given the opportunity and the
chances to throw the ball enough times, that I would get better. The only way
you are going to get better is to get out there and do it more and more. Over
time, I’ve thrown a lot of passes in my career. As that goes on, you see a lot
of defenses, you see a lot of different reads, and your decision making gets
better over time. So as long as you are improving, your touchdown to
interception ratio should improve also and that comes with being more
comfortable with the system and making better decisions.

On Making the NFL

To be a good NFL quarterback, I’ve just got to get the
speed of the game. I feel like I possess all the tools to be successful as a
quarterback. The thing is getting your mind mentally coming along with the
physical. And that’s just like in college coming out of high school, the speed
of the game is going to change, but when your mental catches up with your
physical, I feel like you can have something good. I feel like at the next level
it’s going to be even harder for your mental to catch up with your physical, but
I do possess intangibles that you need as a quarterback, and also the physical
tools, but coming along mentally will help me a great deal.

I always felt like that I am capable of throwing the ball
anywhere on the field, when given enough time to operate. When things do break
down your legs do become a factor, not necessarily running down field, but as
far as moving around in the pocket and buying time. That’s when your legs
become a factor in the NFL, being able to move to avoid the rush, keeping your
head downfield and make plays. In the NFL, making the 50 yard runs or the 30
yard runs are things you don’t necessarily always need, but those extra yards
of buying yourself a little more time can sometimes be the difference between a
three- or five-yard loss and a seven-yard gain.

Reflecting on His Tech Career

I’ve very satisfied with the way my Tech career went. I
think that definitely there has been some ups and downs, and maybe as a whole I
wasn’t as successful every year as I wanted to be coming up to my senior year,
but I do feel I have improved each year. From my freshman year to my sophomore
year to my junior year and to my senior year, I feel like I’ve gotten better
each year, and I feel like I’m still going to get better. So that’s the
thing that I’m very happy with.

I was never content, and I never got worse. I feel like I’ve
always moved forward and gotten better. And I’ve overcome adversity in a lot
of ways when my back was up against the wall, so I’m very happy with the way
my career went and I’m very happy with the way my career ended, going to a BCS
Bowl, which was my goal coming into college. For all the hard work put in, I
feel like I’ve reaped a lot of rewards for that and there’s not really
anything that I would change about my college career, except maybe winning the
national championship. But other than that I was very pleased.

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