We're really lucky to have Alex Albright stop by Around the Res this morning. As a member of BC 2011, he's currently fighting for a back-up LB spot on the Cowboys roster. If you've been following this blog from the beginning (unlikely), you'll know that Alex Albright is my favorite player, so I'm thrilled to have the chance to ask him a few questions and he's been gracious enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to sit down with us.
Let's start with the obvious question. What's it like being in the Cowboys camp? Have you intercepted Tony Romo yet? Have you had time to talk with Jerry Jones?
I think the first feeling you get coming to an organization is being in awe of what you really signed up for. You're in a meeting room with guys you've been watching on Sunday's for years and the fans are all over the place. It's awesome to be on the same field with guys like Brady James, Demarcus Ware, Jason Witten, and Tony Romo. Romo hasn't gifted me with any picks yet. I say "gifted" because it is truly amazing how good of a quarterback he is. I know some people are very opinionated on him but he is an extremely smart and accurate quarterback. Maybe one day he'll find it in his heart to throw a rookie a bone, but maybe not. As far as Jerry Jones, I have only seen him once or twice, but he called me by my name, and I didn't expect that he would be able to put rookie free agents' names to faces so quickly, so that is a really awesome quality that shows how he approaches the team. He is a very proud owner and he has a lot of players that are happy to be under him.
How is the practice and locker room environment at the Cowboys camp different from what you are used to at BC? Is it more intense? Are there any specific changes you've had to make to your routine?
The locker room is split up with the rookies being placed in a different locker room, which is different from BC. That being the case you'd expect there to be even less respect for rookies by veterans, but that's not the case. The vets have been helping me and coaching me up ever since the first day.
Why did you choose to sign with the Cowboys? Particularly, why did you decide to move to the OLB position instead of the ILB? You were a pretty successful 4-3 end in college so moving to LB was something that raised a lot of eyebrows.
I trained to do both OLB and DE in my proday training in Ignition Naples and so I was somewhat familiar with some of the techniques. The cowboys are a legendary franchise and when Coach Eberflus talked to me on the phone, I became excited with the opportunity/challenge of playing for Dallas. From that first call on I have been focused on earning my star on my helmet.
What's it like learning your position from guys like Ware and Spencer? Have they been pretty intense on the practice field or is it true that they're pretty quiet guys?
Spencer and Demarcus really show what it takes to be successful at this level. The way they carry themselves at practice and meetings shows that this isn't college anymore; it's a business. They work so hard to improve themselves and grasp the schemes that it rubs off on me an makes me want to strive even harder to be able to compete like they do at this level. I wouldn't say they are quiet guys, but some people may get that impression the first couple times because they may take a little while to open up, but once they do you see that they are great people and awesome role models.
Rob Ryan looks like he could line-up in the 3-4 himself. He likely has a different style from what you're used to with quieter guys like Spaz, but you two seem to have gotten along great given some of the quotes he's dished out about your play. What kind of attention has he given you as an UDFA? Was it about what you expected?
Rob is awesome and you're right, he definitely likes to liven things up, whether it be in meetings or practice. But he is a very personable guy and he has talked to me a lot more than I expected. I didn't have any knowledge of how things worked with interactions between coaches and UDFA but he is checking in on me and making sure I'm up to speed on everything occasionally. He likes guys who are physical and that's really my style of play so I think he likes that I work hard and that I'm dedicated to bettering myself and becoming a member of this team.
What's your favorite moment of camp so far?
Haha well with coach Ryan there is something new everyday and here in Texas you never know what you're going to get, whether it be Coach Ryan's one liners or Pee Wee Herman at practice. I'd have to say my favorite moment thus far would be the challenge that is presented here. Anyone who knows me knows that I am very competitive and I think the thing I hate the most in life is failing myself. So this is just another opportunity to prove to myself that I have the character and physical drive to succeed.
As a BC alum, do you feel like your education has impacted your learning curve at all? With the strike you're definitely on a shorter time line.
No, not really only because football is different than school. I would say that it's more of a moving math equation. You may be able to understand the formula when it's on the paper in front of you but nothing looks like it does on paper and if you cannot adapt in a split second then you are destined to fail. These guys here didn't make it this far solely because they are good in the classroom. They made it here because of their ability to understand the game and adapt with a football mindset on fly. However, the education I received from coaches Commish and McGovern allowed me to sharpen my ability to decipher a play and expand my vision beyond what is occurring directly in front of me.
What's your health been like? Has new strength and conditioning coach Woicik helped out much?
We have lifted and conditioned a handful of times and it's very similar to BC camp workouts where you aren't necessarily trying to get stronger. The emphasis is more on making sure all your muscles maintain strength and work out soreness in your body. Also remaining flexible is important, so we stretch frequently in order to prevent becoming stiff, which causes injuries very quickly.
What are the conditions at camp like? Better or worse than your dorm room at BC?
As far as our conditions I'd have to say they are a lot better than BC. We have been staying in a Hayatt in down-town San Antonio, which is really nice on our own, two private floors. The meetings and meals are all in the same hotel so there is no having to walk from the dorm, the building where we eat, then to the stadium like at BC. which is huge because that extra time can be used for a longer nap or studying your playbook (which I rarely put down). We have also been practicing in the Alamodome so no 100+ Texas heat for us in our first couple weeks, which allows us to play faster because we are able to stay hydrated and there are less injuries due to cramping etc.
Last one, prediction on the number of games the BC Eagles will win this year...
I saw BC elected it's captains the other day and that group of guys knows how to lead by example. I think the necessary core group of leaders and play makers is there and they can go as far as they want to...ACC Champs baby!!'
Thanks for the time, Alex.
Alex will be stopping by the blog at some point today or tomorrow so feel free to use the message boards to throw him some encouragement.