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Iron City South
04-27-2008, 08:06 PM
I'm really liking this kid ...... gotta love the last paragraph of the article. :yellowthumb:



http://i.a.cnn.net/si/2008/writers/arash_markazi/03/03/bruce.davis/t1_davis.jpg
Bruce Davis is looking to prove that with his speed and athleticism, he can have a similar impact as Dolphins star Jason Taylor.


Life in transition
All-America DE Bruce Davis switching to LB for NFL

The sun has yet to rise above Agoura Hills, a quiet suburb 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, but Bruce Davis is already sitting in the middle of a local deli, learning how to play linebacker the only way you can at this hour.

With coffee creamers and fruit jam packages spread across the table, like Xs and Os on a chalkboard, Davis is learning the basics of a position he rarely played in college but must now adapt to as if he's played it his entire career.

"It's definitely a challenge, but I love a challenge," said Davis, who recorded 24.5 sacks over the past two seasons at UCLA as defensive end and was named an All-American defensive last season. "I love the game. Nobody can try and take this game away from me. They're trying to, but I'm going to let them know they can't."

At 6-foot-3, 241 pounds, Davis' lack of size has forced him to move to outside linebacker from his more natural defensive end position that made him a premier college pass rusher. While Davis braces himself for the uncertainty of playing a new position, Gary Wichard, Davis' agent, confidently watches longtime college and NFL defensive coordinator Foge Fazio mentor Davis over breakfast as he sips his coffee in between glances at the morning newspaper.

This is nothing new for Wichard, who watched his client Adam Archuletta go from an undersized college linebacker to the first defensive back taken in the 2001 NFL draft. Davis, however, is more of a cross between Dwight Freeney and Jason Taylor, two other Wichard clients that went from tweeners to Pro Bowlers.

"The NFL is about imitation not innovation," said Wichard. "If you can say he's a blank-blank type, you're in good shape. Bruce is the next Jason Taylor. When I first saw Jason he wasn't even a power forward, he was a small forward at 229 pounds. Jason broke the door down for guys like Bruce Davis and Dwight Freeney, the undersized guys that can get to the quarterback."

Wichard doesn't shy away from imitation. If anything he flaunts it, using many of his clients in the league such as Taylor and Freeney as examples of what his current crop of rookies -- Davis, Miami defensive end Calais Campbell and North Carolina defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer -- could become if they follow his "game plan."

The game plan is an actual playbook-sized collection of tips, analysis and anecdotes that Wichard has collected over his 20-plus years as an agent, personalized for each client. The first page of the game plan is a four-tiered schedule that takes the player from his final season to his eventual NFL contract. Davis is currently in the midst of the third phase after participating in last week's NFL Combine and preparing for his Pro Day next Thursday at UCLA.

"It all starts here," says Wichard, pointing at a fog-covered football field at nearby Agoura High, where his players are currently training. "That's all I know. After that it's just money. You're going to get a lot more money if you're picked here [hand above head] than if you were picked here [hand below waist]; its simple arithmetic."

Davis is one of the biggest mysteries in next month's NFL draft, and certainly amongst Wichard's three client's in the draft (both Campbell and Balmer are projected to go in the first round, while Davis could go anywhere from the first to the third round). Wichard, it seems, revels in such ambiguity and loves showing off old mock drafts that have none of his clients being taken in the first round and comparing them with the actual selections and seeing all of his guys in there.

As Davis practices against Fazio, alternating between coming off the edge and dropping back into coverage, Wichard gets a call from an NFL general manager and wastes little time hyping up his incoming class.

"You have to see Davis in person," he says. "He's a Jason Taylor-clone."

Again, imitation not innovation.

"I actually think Bruce is going to be a unique player," says Fazio, who most recently was a defensive consultant for the Vikings in 2005. "He's going to be able to put his hand on the ground and also stand up; maybe be a 3-4 linebacker like the Steelers play or be a specialist on third downs when he comes out and rushes the passer, but he has some special skills."

After going through football drills with Fazio and other professional coaches for a couple of hours alongside Balmer and Campbell, Davis gets a moment to relax a bit when the group drives to a nearby restaurant for lunch, although Davis' training technically never ends.

"The hardest adjustment for me is eating," says Davis, who has gained 10 pounds of muscle since the end of last season. "Before I started training I never thought twice about what I ate. I figured I could eat whatever I wanted, but it's not like that at all. I need to gain weight, so I've stepped up my carb intake so much that I have to eat five times a day with snacks in between."

Davis began his daily training regimen for the draft soon after his college football career ended at the Las Vegas Bowl, when he memorably let his emotions go and cried as he walked off the field after UCLA lost to BYU on a missed, chip-shot field goal.

"People always tell me to calm down or tell me I get too emotional. No, no, no. This game is my life," says Davis, whose father Bruce Sr. also went to UCLA and won two Super Bowl rings as an offensive lineman for the Raiders. "As far as I'm concerned I owe this game everything I have, so every time I go out there on the field I let it go. There's no let up, there's none of that. It's just not in my wiring. When I was little kid, I asked my dad if I could miss practice to go to mall one time and I got smacked in the face. There is no room for complacency with me. I'll never take a day off. The day I play my last snap of NFL football is the day I'll finally kick my feet up. "

As Davis talks about football, an NFL highlight package pops up on the television near the restaurant's bar and the immediacy of it all -- Pro Day, the NFL draft and his first NFL season -- finally begins to hit Davis.

"It's overwhelming to think about this sometimes, but at the same time this is what I wanted my whole life," he says as he looks at the television. "If the opportunity presents itself and I catch Peyton Manning with his arm still in the air ready to **** back and throw, I'm going to unload on him. Same goes for Tom Brady and all those guys. They're going to be out there trying to torch whatever team I'm playing on, so if I catch 'em, I'm going to hit 'em. I'm going to hit them as hard as I can and let them know that I'm there."

Just as he finishes his sentence, a highlight of Taylor sacking Manning flashes on the screen, and there is Wichard smiling in the distance.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/arash_markazi/03/03/bruce.davis/index.html

K Train
04-27-2008, 08:09 PM
he actually looks like jason taylor that was the first thing i thought of lol, then his video he even looks like him. i like him i guess, the idea of not taking avril or moore leaves a bad taste in my mouth though

BlitzburghRockCity
04-27-2008, 10:18 PM
He's got the attitude you want in LB on the Steelers that's for sure. He seems like a guy who has no fear and doesn't care who stands in his way. I like that about him; plus he's definitely got a mean streak in him and he's a trash talker which is always nice to have IMO :D

BlackGold4vr
04-27-2008, 10:34 PM
He's got the attitude you want in LB on the Steelers that's for sure. He seems like a guy who has no fear and doesn't care who stands in his way. I like that about him; plus he's definitely got a mean streak in him and he's a trash talker which is always nice to have IMO :D


OLB was a need for us IMO. We had nothing behind Woodley and Harrison. I believe we are now set at LB for a few years (both inside and out).

Our D-line is old, slow and we have no depth. Casey plays too heavy. Kiesel is undersized and can't muster any pressure even when single blocked. Aaron Smith is the only real threat that O-lines need to scheme for and we saw where our defense went with him out of the lineup. I hate our DE back-ups who I believe are worthless and Chris Hoke is getting old too. Big mistake not doing whatever was necessary to move into position to address that need. It's not like we couldn't have moved up and packaged a later pick, we wasted a couple anyway. Nobody could have predicted that Langford was going to go with the 3rd pick of the 3rd round, but we still could have grabbed Dre Moore who sat on the top of the value board for awhile. D-line will be our achilles this year. :2cents:

MDSteel15
04-27-2008, 10:37 PM
I can't believe we passed on Dre Moore!!! This kid better pan out....

K Train
04-27-2008, 10:38 PM
having half a dozen sick LBs helps the dline in big ways though

BlackGold4vr
04-27-2008, 10:45 PM
having half a dozen sick LBs helps the dline in big ways though


But you can only play 4 at a time unless we create a new defensive scheme. Example, Bruce Davis might be a bad-*** but he won't get on the field much other than special teams. Who comes out to put him on the field? Hell, Timmons is still going to have problems getting on the field. I don't think its a given that he supplants Foote. Its a nice problem to have but it won't help big snack catch his breath or Kiesel to find his balls.

K Train
04-27-2008, 10:51 PM
they will scheme to what works, your thinking to mcuh ino base defneses...when it comes down to x's and os we can make it work...dline needs to be addressed but as long as smith is healthy we have a solid dline because he is truely a master of his position. Hopefullt mcbean steps it up, its a tough position to play so i didnt expect much from him last year

TEEMONT
04-27-2008, 11:04 PM
they will scheme to what works, your thinking to mcuh ino base defneses...when it comes down to x's and os we can make it work...dline needs to be addressed but as long as smith is healthy we have a solid dline because he is truely a master of his position. Hopefullt mcbean steps it up, its a tough position to play so i didnt expect much from him last year

If McBean can step up...things will get a lot better a lot quicker.

I seriously only see us an average O-line away from being SB contenders....

Give Ben one more WR next to replace Hines, and an O-line, and call it a dynasty.

The D just needs some line help, but they are still gonna be nasty next year IMO.

K Train
04-27-2008, 11:08 PM
mediocre blocking is what ben likes deep down lol

TEEMONT
04-27-2008, 11:12 PM
mediocre blocking is what ben likes deep down lol

yeah but RB's dont

K Train
04-27-2008, 11:15 PM
our guys can run block...mahan got eaten alive but that chapter in my life is done

TEEMONT
04-27-2008, 11:17 PM
our guys can run block...mahan got eaten alive but that chapter in my life is done

eh...the jury is still out on the left side of the line.

I'll be happy if this is our line next year:

LT: Smith
LG: Colon
C: Hartwig (please dont ever get injured)
RG: Simmons
RT: Starks

I hope Hills or whatever the ddue from UT's name is takes over for Smith in the next year or two.

K Train
04-27-2008, 11:20 PM
if kemoeatu is in there....**** it, he can run block with the best of them....run blocking wont be our problem next year i guarantee it, if it is its because they have 8 or 9 in the box and they are being destroyed through the air

K Train
04-27-2008, 11:21 PM
and yes please hartwig...never get hurt, even a little.

you knwo the colts took 3 centers today? lol

TEEMONT
04-27-2008, 11:22 PM
if kemoeatu is in there....**** it, he can run block with the best of them....run blocking wont be our problem next year i guarantee it, if it is its because they have 8 or 9 in the box and they are being destroyed through the air

Ben still makes me nervous on the run...he did get lucky quite a bit last year.

Gimme Colon over Kemo.

K Train
04-27-2008, 11:25 PM
Ben still makes me nervous on the run...he did get lucky quite a bit last year.

Gimme Colon over Kemo.

bens running whether theres a wall or if his line doesnt even show up for the game...just what he does.

colon is alot better than kemoeatu imo

Black@Gold Forever32
04-28-2008, 12:26 AM
If McBean can step up...things will get a lot better a lot quicker.

I seriously only see us an average O-line away from being SB contenders....

Give Ben one more WR next to replace Hines, and an O-line, and call it a dynasty.

The D just needs some line help, but they are still gonna be nasty next year IMO.

Everybody counts out McBean...People have to remember that Aaron Smith wasn't an instant badass.....I'm not saying McBean will ever be as good as Smith...But I'm just hoping he proves to be better then Nick Eason...lol Thats a start at least....So I'm with you if McBean can step up that would be awesome...

For the record I loved the Davis pick and think he is a very good pass rusher and will be the next badass OLB for our D...along with Woodley..

BlitzburghRockCity
04-28-2008, 12:30 AM
Im not sold on McBean but at the same time you never want to count someone out till they get a fair shake on the field. I don't think he'll ever be another Aaron Smith but if he can be as serviceable as Chris Hoke is for us then I'll certainly be happy.

Stlrs4Life
04-28-2008, 11:06 PM
McBean has to step up no doubt, he has huge shoes to fill.