On his first day of rookie minicamp, running back Derrius Guice is already impressing with his desire to learn in the classroom and make the most of this introductory weekend.
The first day of rookie minicamp offers just a tepid taste of life in the National Football League, but for running back Derrius Guice – practicing in a helmet and shorts with fellow first-year players – the day had a slightly bigger impact.
“It felt like my dream finally came true,” he said following Friday’s practice. “Being part of a National Football [League] organization, that was the best part to me. Outside of being out there with the guys, a long time in the meetings, putting it all out on the field and actually remembering everything, it was a great feeling.”
Guice, as described by head coach Jay Gruden, is a ball of energy, even after a half-day spent on the field and a half-day spent with the strength coaches in the weight room. The Redskins want to ease Guice’s workload during the first couple weeks with the team, but they can’t slow down his high spirits getting to engage in team football drills for the first time since finishing the season at LSU.
This weekend in particular is more about memory retention and showing coaches how much information you can process. Guice said there’s about 50 plays he’s needed to become familiar with for this weekend, and that his biggest goal is to get comfortable with the terminology. His eagerness so far has been on display.
“He’s really excited to be here and he’s willing to learn,” Gruden said. “He’s first in the meeting, got his playbook open and just soaking in all the knowledge.”
“We’re in a meeting, you know, and Coach Randy [Jordan] stated that this is not college, you ain’t got no actual classes, it’s football all day,” Guice said. “That’s the best part about being a pro. It’s football all day, you don’t have to worry about XYZ, other things to worry about. You just learn these plays and put it to the test.”
Though his best characteristic is his ability to run angry and barrel over defenders, Guice is happy to take each stage in his NFL transition one day at a time.
“I feel like this is important, just getting a grasp of the plays and stuff, you don’t need to do everything full speed,” Guice said. “You start off with the walkthroughs half-speed, you get to the one-on-ones, it’s just all technique. This is the great part. We need this part. It’s not all just about putting on the pads and running somebody over. It’s the mental stuff first.”
That’s Guice’s philosophy for just about everything right now. At this point, he’s not concerned about proving himself against the other running backs taken ahead of him in the draft. Besides, it’s still too early to start thinking about the future just yet.
He will surmise – like how he thinks the Redskins offense will be easy to learn once he get the right vernacular down, or how he’ll eventually develop relationships with the veteran running backs in the room.
“I like to find out things on my own first before I start asking questions,” Guice said, commenting that he’s enjoyed learning from Coach Jordan, a coach he’s not afraid to ask to slow down and repeat a certain concept in the meeting room.
“This is a family, this is a big family, man,” Guice said. “I feel like that’s more important than the whole business side of it, being part of an organization is more than just an organization. It’s family, and you’re willing to do anything you can for these guys just because it’s family.”