Rookie linebacker Scott McKillop, the 49ers fifth-round draft pick, checks in with his latest diary entry. McKillop details his progress on the field, his love for Pittsburgh sports and his experience at 49ers Family Day.
After practicing hard for the last two weeks, I think the week went well for me personally. It was a little tough on my legs, but I got through it and improved each day. I tried to take advantage of the down time as much as possible. I did so by stretching and getting in the tubs at the team facility. From the mental side of the game, we put in more calls and some of the days I didn?t play as well as I would have liked. But the important thing was I bounced back each day and got better when I wasn?t satisfied with my performance. I thought the last two days of our OTAs helped me get crisper on my reads and overall, the last two weeks helped me improve so much.
Being an inside linebacker, there?s pressure to play well because our head coach is a Hall of Fame linebacker. He?s a linebackers coach at heart and he wants all of our linebackers here to do well, because that?s a reflection of him and his coaching staff. It reflects on all of our defensive coaches, so they all want us to get better every day we?re out here working.
Looking back at when we first had a rookie minicamp in May, I?ve gotten so much more comfortable in comparison to then. I just have to keep taking steps forward and try not to take any back. I want to improve every day and play faster when training camp rolls around.
When I finished up at the team facility each day, I typically went back to our hotel and hung out with my teammates. We went to the pool a lot and we sometimes we ventured over to the nearby strip mall to eat dinner. One night, we went to the sushi place over there and had a nice meal together. When it comes to eating sushi, I?m a pretty plain guy. I like spicy California rolls the most.
During our minicamp and OTAs, I was also following the Stanley Cup Playoffs pretty closely. Being from Pittsburgh, I followed the Penguins a lot. Before game six, I somehow ended up checking out Ricky Jean-Francois? Twitter account and found out that he (my roommate at the team hotel) was rooting for the Red Wings!
So I sent him a text message: That?s messed up rooting against the Penguins! You?re not even from Detroit! You should root for Pittsburgh, because that?s where I?m from! I was really excited when they won game seven ? it?s great for the city.
I?ve always been a big fan of all Pittsburgh teams. Growing up, I never got a chance to see Mario Lemieux in his prime, but in the past couple of years I?ve gone to a lot of games. I guess I?m kind of a bandwagon fan ? I?ll admit it. I wasn?t too much of a fan back then, but as soon as they got Sidney Crosby I started following them closely. I actually had a chance to meet Crosby recently, because a friend of mine is one of the equipment managers for the team. I was able to go in the locker room and meet some of the players, so that was a cool experience. I have total respect for what they do after watching them up close and in person. They?re special athletes.
I also have to give some love to the Pittsburgh Pirates, especially the team?s special events department. I interned for them while in college and it was a fun experience. Like I said earlier, I?m a huge fan of any Pittsburgh team so it was great to work there. I got to see what happens behind the scenes and it was an interesting job. Anything prior or after games, I?d be on the field escorting the National Anthem singers or whoever threw the first pitch. I had some basic intern tasks as well, like copying and mailing stuff. I did all the dirty work that interns have to do, but it was a fun summer gig.
Now that I mentioned baseball, it?s probably a good time to bring up my trip to Pac Bell Park on Sunday to check out the Giants/A?s game. My uncle was in town and so that was a great activity for us to do since I?m new to the Bay Area. We got great seats behind home plate and it was fun watching Matt Cain have such a great outing on the mound. I heard I should try the garlic fries they serve at the game, but I forgot and had some other great food instead. I have to say it didn?t compete with a Primanti sandwich. That?s a famous sandwich we have in Pittsburgh that has French fries and cole slaw in it.
The day before the game, we had family day at Candlestick Park and I was excited to finally see our stadium. It was also great meeting our fans and hearing how supportive they were of our team. Meeting the fans is something you really have to cherish and it was a pleasure to meet them and sign autographs.
Pretty soon, all of the rookies are going to work out here at the facility and then we?ll be traveling to Florida for the rookie symposium.
I look forward to taking a business vacation with my teammates where we can get away, but still learn more about the business of the NFL.
I?ll have more updates for you guys soon, thanks for reading my rookie diary.