Player Personnel Assistant Ethan Waugh is in his fourth season with the 49ers and has become a jack of all trades for General Manager Scot McCloughan with duties that cover both the pro and college side of scouting. In this latest blog, Waugh updates our fans on the final days at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
We had a great week of practice, interviews and meetings at the Senior Bowl, and I believe that coaching the game again really paid off for us.
Since the last day of practice in pads was on Wednesday, most of the NFL scouts and coaches headed out of town, so really there were just a handful of people left for Thursday's practice which was extremely cold and wet. Although they were in shorts, both teams went through a full practice so it gave us one last chance to watch all 100 or so guys practice.
We switched teams on Thursday night so each position coach and a few members of our personnel staff sat down with their group of players on the North team, and spoke with them for about a half hour to 45 minutes. It gave us a chance to learn a great deal about those guys as well.
Friday was a walk- thru day and then several of the players volunteered to go to a hospital to visit some sick children, which is something that seems to be a highlight for the players and the kids.
Most of our scouts left Thursday evening or Friday morning and headed home for a day or two with their families before heading out to Santa Clara for the start of our draft meetings. I was fortunate to get out on Friday and make it back to San Jose without any issues, but apparently our coaches and the rest of our equipment, video and training staff got stuck in Mobile Sunday morning after the game. You can only get out by flying through Atlanta or Dallas and they were all set to go through Dallas, but their early flight got cancelled. They ended up spending about eight hours at the airport, so I can imagine that wasn't a very fun experience.
However, it was obviously great to win the game against the North, and a good game overall with it coming down to the final seconds.
It was good to see the guys who had a good week of practice also play well in the game. Florida wide receiver Andre Caldwell had a good week and then came through with the game winning touchdown. Erik Ainge wasn't one of the guys the media was pumping, but just being around him all week, we knew he has the right makeup mentally to come through in a clutch and he really did so in the game.
Sedrick Ellis came up with a safety, Keith Rivers also played very well, and Lavelle Hawkins caught a long touchdown pass, so I was glad to see some of the guys from my area playing well.
Wide receiver Harry Douglas of Louisville showed some of the quickness we talked about in the game, catching the big first down throw from Ainge to keep the game winning drive alive.
Some of the late additions who came in as injury replacements were also pretty good. Yvenson Bernard from Oregon State came in on Thursday and played in the game which is hard to do. You have to be smart to pick up everything that quickly, and he did a good job with that. Appalachian State receiver Dexter Jackson also came in and really showed great speed.
The Senior Bowl is extremely well run. Steve Hale did a great job picking the group of players and it was a huge success. Everything is on schedule, the players are always on time and it is fantastic. They deal with more people than any other bowl game, and they run it very smoothly. People in Mobile love to take part in the weekly events and the actual game, and it's really how an all-star game should be. Under Armour sponsored the event and they made sure every single player had all the high tech gear available, and so I know all the players and coaches really enjoyed that.
We put a lot of time and effort into the week, and hopefully it will help us out draft day and on down the road.
As for me, as soon as I got back, I dove right into preparations for our draft meetings which will start this week. I also had to get information ready for our pro scout Mike Williams, who is going to cover the Texas vs. the Nation all-star game this week for us since all the college scouts will be in for meetings.
I'll touch base in a few weeks as we rev up for the Combine.