This week, the St. Louis Rams will begin contract talks with first overall pick and new face of the franchise QB Sam Bradford. Plenty of questions about Bradford's immediate future with the Rams remain, not the lest of which is when he'll take the reigns as the team's starting QB.
Bradford was in Oklahoma last week, getting a head start on his second job as a spokesman, working with the NFL and Gatorade to educate younger football players about playing and practicing under the hot summer sun. While he was there, Sam was kind enough to take a few questions from TST, ranging from what the team wants to see before he earns the starting job to his thoughts on the recent conference shake up in college football.
TST talks with St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford, after the jump.
TST: Having wrapped up minicamp and OTAs, how do you feel about where you stand in regards to learning the Rams' system and playing at the professional level?
Sam Bradford: I feel very good with where I'm at right now. I feel like I made a lot of progress during OTAs and minicamp. I feel like I've become a lot more comfortable in the huddle calling plays from the line of scrimmage, going through my reads. But I think it's just like anything else - the more you do it, the more comfortable you become. I expect that as training camp comes, and as we get into two-a-days, the more reps I get, the more comfortable I'll become. So I look forward to getting to training camp and getting those reps.
TST: How does this offense differ from the one you ran at OU? What are the similarities?
SB: You know it's actually pretty similar in ways to the offense we ran here at Oklahoma. A lot of the concepts are the same. Some of the reads are a little bit different. I'd say there's probably a few more true progression reads in this system than we had in college.
TST: What's been the most difficult aspect of the move from college to the pros?
SB: I think the terminology of the pro game. Just the complexity of the game. You know, when you're a young quarterback and you're coming in and you're having to learn an entire offense, you're just thinking a lot. You're thinking about little things that at Oklahoma became second nature. So I think the more I do it, and the quicker those things become second nature and I'm not thinking about them every time I go to the line, the quicker I'll start to play at the level I'm familiar with playing at.
TST: What kinds of things have the coaches talked to you about doing so you put yourself in a position to start? Have they laid out specific things you need to do to be ready to start right away?
SB: You know, they really haven't. They told me to continue what I'm doing, continue to work hard. That's what I plan to do. I'm going to continue to do everything I can to put myself in the situation to be on the field. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't mean I'm going to stop. I'll just work that much harder to get out there.
TST: Any idea about when you expect to have contract talks with the team wrapped up?
SB: You know, it's something my agent is going to work on in the next couple of weeks.
TST: Let's talk college football realignment. Do you think the University of Oklahoma should have ... a) stayed in the Big 12, b) jumped to the SEC, or c) packed up for the PAC 10.
SB: I followed it a little bit, and I was a supporter of the Big 12 staying together. It's a great thing, and I know my experience in the Big 12 was fantastic. I think there's a lot of great rivalries, there's a lot of big games in the Big 12. You know, to see it split up would have been a disas
TST: Playing football all your life in Oklahoma, complete with the August two-a-days, you've obviously learned a thing or two about beating the heat. Can you tell us about the Gatorade-NFL Beat the Heat program you’re working with this summer?
SB: The Beat the Heat program is something where we’re trying to raise awareness among high school players, coaches and parents about the importance of staying hydrated during two-a-days. Obviously, it’s extremely hot during this time of year. You lose a lot when you sweat, and sometimes water isn’t enough. That’s why sports drinks like Gatorade put back the electrolytes in sweat. But athletes also need to think about when they’re hydrating. It’s important for kids to realize that you have to think about hydration before, during and after practice – you have to think about it all day long, every day, or eventually it’s going to catch up with you. And that’s the last thing you want, to miss a practice because you’re not hydrated.
A huge thanks to Sam Bradford for taking time out to talk to Rams fans at TST.
Click here to learn more about Gatorade-NFL Beat the Heat -- which aims to educate athletes (plus their parents and coaches) about how to stay safe and perform at their best during the summer practice season.