Rookie linebacker Scott McKillop, the 49ers fifth-round draft pick, checks in with his latest diary entry. McKillop breaks down his visit back home to Pennsylvania, his impressions of his first OTA and his plans on exploring San Francisco for the first time.
After doing my first diary entry, my grandma read it online and let me know that on an airplane they don't use chairs and that they're actually called seats! That's my fault for not using the right word, sorry grandma!
We had two weeks off in between our rookie minicamp and our most recent OTA, so I spent time with my girlfriend, friends and family. I spent time with everyone who is special to me and I just cherished the time I had with everyone. I knew that it was only a matter of time before I got back out to the Bay Area, because I knew I had a job to do.
In my last entry, I said that I was going to train hard while I was back home so I'd be in great shape for OTAs. But actually, I had to take a couple of days off to rest my feet, which were pretty torn up after all the conditioning.
Although I couldn't run at first, I was riding the exercise bike and eventually I started working out again with my strength coaches at Pitt (my alma mater). What I did back home is very similar to the weight training we've been doing in the morning here. We lifted every morning at 6:30 to be exact. I'm happy I stuck with their weight program while I was home and I have to give them some recognition because they are some great coaches. They definitely helped me prepare for the lifting we've done out here.
Unlike last time, the flight to the Bay Area this time was probably the best flight I've ever had. I'm probably jinxing myself now, but it was one of the most comfortable flights I've been on. There was turbulence for maybe 10 seconds. I was pretty fortunate enough to have a smooth flight. Coming from Pittsburgh there aren't any connecting flights to San Jose, but I flew into Denver and then to San Jose.
I had a pretty good "seat" on the plane. I know now that it's a seat and not a chair, thanks to my grandma. I was in first-class and I took a later flight than usual. All the other rookies got in early and I got in around 8PM because I knew if I got in early I'd be sitting in my hotel. So I figured it would be nice to spend the extra time with my girlfriend before I came out.
On the first day here, coach Singletary spoke to the team and told us to pick up our play and keep our focus during every period of practice. I knew it was coming because usually no matter where you're at, the head coach likes to set the tone and send a message to their players.
After hearing coach talk like that, we picked up our play and on the next day we definitely improved. We still have a lot more to improve on, but for the rookies like myself, it showed what type of personality that he has. He's not anything but the best.
The next day I was able to come up with an interception and that felt good. The funny thing about it is we were doing some ball drills during individual work and I was bragging to all our inside linebackers that I had the best hands. After I said that, whenever the ball was coming to me in the drill, I was thinking, "Don't drop it, don't drop it!" I knew if I did, they'd still be teasing me about bragging.
In all honesty I was just messing around. I would never think that I had better hands than our guys. I mean, Joe Staley is on our team and he's a two-time Pro Bowler! I was just messing around and when I said it initially, they just shrugged it off like it wasn't a big deal. But when I did get that interception, I was happy to somewhat backup my statement!
On Wednesday we were treated by having Jerry Rice speak to the team after practice. I'm not from here, but I definitely know who he is and how great of a player he was for the 49ers.
I remember when coach Singletary called him get in front of us and speak, I was standing a couple feet behind Rice and I was just in awe. I turned around, saw him and thought, "That's Jerry Rice! That's the man right there!"
I was a couple feet from him and not many people can say: A. they had a chance to meet Jerry Rice, B. they had the opportunity to hold one of his Super Bowl rings, and C. play for the same franchise that he was a part of.
He had a great message in his speech about working hard all the time and coming together as a unit. But one of the most memorable parts was at the end when he told us that he could still run routes and he pointed at Nate Clements when he said it. He told us all that he still has some skills and believe me, we didn't question it.
Being back out here for the second time I definitely
became more comfortable with my surroundings. Now that I've gone through four days of OTAs I am definitely the most comfortable I've been. I'm just starting to put the faces with the names on our defense. Once I conquer that, I'll start putting the faces and the names together of our offense.
Hopefully I'll learn all the names sooner than later. I'm only in my fourth day being around the full team and not to mention there are 80 or so guys on the team plus the coaching staff.
We have some time off for Memorial Day, but I'm looking forward to coming back out and starting to work again and proving myself.
Now that OTAs are over, I'm going to hang out with my fellow rookies and enjoy some time getting to know them better. I'll be away from my family a little bit longer, but I have to start making friends and getting more comfortable out here.
I think I need to take a trip up to San Francisco and finally experience what it's all about. I've been getting text messages from my family and friends on what it's like out here and all I can say to them is, "I know what Santa Clara is like, but I haven't been anywhere outside of our hotel and our team facilities."
I'm really open to checking out all of San Francisco. I definitely want to see the Golden Gate Bridge and if I have time take a tour of Alcatraz. Chances are I won't have time to see Alcatraz, but I'd like to see the bay and just see things I've never seen being that I'm from the East Coast now on the West Coast.
I'm not sure when I'll be going back home, I haven't booked a trip home just yet. Whenever they tell me to go home, I'll just book a trip. But I know we have the rookie symposium before we get to go home. That's at the end of June.
The symposium should be a good chance for all of the rookies to bond. I know Ricky Jean-Francois is a good guy, because I room with him back at the hotel. All the rookies are really cool guys, nobody has an ego. We're all just trying to help the 49ers get better and do whatever they need us to do.
Hopefully I didn't use any words improperly or my grandma might get mad at me again. But I'll keep everyone updated on what happened at the symposium and the rest of OTAs in my next entry.