The first Senior Bowl practices took place Monday afternoon in south Alabama. The game is Saturday at Ladd-Peeples Stadium in Mobile, and the North worked there. Meanwhile, the South practiced across the bay at Fairhope Stadium.
Some of the best college players who were seniors are taking part, and with hundreds of NFL scouts, coaches and front office types ringing the field, it was a chance to show their skills against top-notch competition.
Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard was picked by several publications as a first-team All-American, and played some center and guard on Monday. He also said he's studied Houston Texans center Chris Myers.
"In the zone-scheme, he's the best in the business as a zone-blocking center," Ikard said. "I've picked
up a couple things from him over the years watching some YouTube clips and TiVo'ing some games.
Ikard added that the Texans will surely "bounce back" in 2014, after a 2-14 season last autumn. LSU linebacker Lamin Barrow is also on the South squad with Ikard, and not surprisingly, had glowing things to say about a pair of marquee Texans defenders.
"Brian Cushing is one of the better linebackers in the League, and one of the guys that I look up to," Barrow said. "And J.J. Watt is making plays all over the field. It would be an honor to learn from guys like that, so of course, I think a lot about the Texans."
His teammate from Baton Rouge, Craig Loston, is a safety who starred in high school at Eisenhower High School in Aldine. Needless to say, he flashed an ear-to-ear smile when asked about his hometown team.
"I love the Texans," Loston said. "If I was to be blessed to be picked by them, that would be something I would love. It's my hometown. Any time you can get a chance to play for your home team that's great."
The North will practice at 9:30 CT. Tuesday morning at Ladd-Peeples, while the South will follow with a 2-hour practice there at 1:30 p.m.