I hadn’t been in Mobile more than an hour and hadn’t even sniffed a practice field, and yet I could already fill up a notebook of first impressions from the 2013 Senior Bowl. Before the vikings.com Blog becomes consumed by my practice reports and observations, let’s empty out the notebook from Monday as made the trek from Minneapolis to Mobile, by way of Atlanta…
– Before I get in to a few notes about my time traveling to – and in – Mobile so far, I want to mention a player down here at the Senior Bowl who has captured the attention of some already. His name is Aaron Mellette, and he is a wide receiver for the North team. Mellette measures in a 6-4, 215 pounds, so it sounds as if he has a prototypical build for an NFL WR. He played collegiately at Elon University, a school located in Elon, North Carolina and a program that competes in the Southern Conference. In his senior season, Mallette hauled in 97 receptions for 1,398 yards and 18 TDs. The reason I became aware of him is because I saw NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock upon my arrival in downtown Mobile on Monday night and before our conversation ended I had to ask him about Aaron “Mitts” Dobson. Mayock gave me a positive response on Dobson, but while he was doing that, Charles Davis, also of NFL Network, made a comment about Mellette’s performance on Day 1 of Senior Bowl week. Not sure what to make of it all yet, but it’s another name to add to the list of players to watch this week.
– I couldn’t help but pay attention to the temperature outside as I drove toward the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to board my flight. One bank marquee listed the temperature as -3 degrees. The temperature here in Mobile isn’t anything incredible – 57 degrees when I landed – but it beats the heck out of -9. The weather in general is supposed to be pleasant here in Mobile for the week, with temps tomorrow of around 57 and increasing to 61 on Wednesday, 67 on Thursday and 68 on Friday. Last year inclement weather forced Leslie Frazier to move one of his practices indoors, a major bummer for the players and for NFL teams trying to scout the players.
– It’s awesome when pilots get on the PA system and declare to the passengers what route the plane will take to arrive at its destination. It’s frustrating to look down from your window and not know what’s below you. The pilot on our flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta extended the courtesy of informing us of our flight path. I appreciated it.
– The first thing I noticed when I got off the plane and entered the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was the amount of San Francisco 49ers-clad travelers were scurrying around the building. The 49ers had of course just defeated the Falcons in the Georgia Dome the day prior, so the many 49ers fans who traveled to see their team play were on their way home.
– It was fun running into Chad O’Shea at the airport in Atlanta. He was an offensive assistant coach on Brad Childress’ staff with the Vikings from 2006-08, but took a promotion with the New England Patriots and joined Bill Belichick’s staff in 2009. Talk about a quick turnaround – O’Shea and the Patriots had lost the AFC title game less than 24 hours before I saw him in the Atlanta airport connecting to a flight for Mobile.
– It’s a different vibe down here this year compared to last year. Remember, last year Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier and his staff were in charge of the North squad. This year, Frazier and his staff are just like the other teams who aren’t coaching one of the teams. So it makes for a different environment all together, but it will still be productive for the coaches and scouts, and for the Vikings Entertainment Network (VEN).
– One thing is unmistakable – the people down here in Mobile love their college football. I sat next to a woman on the flight from Atlanta to Mobile, and she had so much to say about how much the Senior Bowl means to the Mobile community and she had so much to say about many of the players who’ve played in the Senior Bowl itself in years past, from current players such as Andy Dalton, Clay Matthews, Tim Tebow and Russell Wilson, to throwbacks such as Tee Martin (a Mobile native).
– Speaking of Mobile natives, there is a Mobile native who will be a senior next year and who, if he plays in the Senior Bowl, will be a bigger sensation than even Tebow. University of Alabama QB AJ McCarron. Yes, the back-to-back national champion who is looking to be a back-to-back-to-back national champion with head coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. If McCarron does that, and if he chooses to come back to Mobile and play in the Senior Bowl, the scene down here next year could be nuts.
Tags: 2013 Senior Bowl, Leslie Frazier
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