If Russell Okung is feeling just a little bit of pressure in his first minicamp with the Seahawks, it’s definitely understandable. But you never would have known it by the way the team’s first-round draft choice performed in his first practice on Friday.
“Russell fit in very well, and did some very good things today,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I don’t know how he could know as much as he does.”
Carroll will get no argument from defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, who had a couple of run-ins with Okung during the nearly two-hour practice.
“He had a good day,” Mebane said. “He’s pretty tough. He’s an athletic tackle. It’s the first day, so he’s just getting into it. So of course he’s going to get better. But I think he did pretty well for a first day.
“He was thrown in there with the first team. So of course he’s going to be burned a few times, because just coming out of college to the NFL is a big difference. But I though he did pretty well today.”
Okung’s take on Day One? Unavailable. Between the morning walkthrough, the afternoon practice, a needed post-practice visit to the hot tub, meetings and Friday night’s Rookie Spotlight function, he simply ran out of time to talk with reporters.
But it was more important that the rookie tackle from Oklahoma State make a statement on the field – which he did, with more than just a little help from veteran guard Ben Hamilton.
Hamilton was signed last week, with the idea that he could solve a need on the left side while also serving as an on-field coach to help Okung with his transition to the NFL and the zone-blocking scheme being installed by line coach Alex Gibbs.
“Ben is really a smart football player, and a guy we thought would really add to us and hoped that he would help the new left tackle,” Carroll said. “That’s already working. You can see him talking to Russell the whole time.”
Hamilton knows the drill. When the Denver Broncos selected Ryan Clady in the first round of the draft two years ago, it was Hamilton who helped him develop into a Pro Bowl performer. Different team. Different left tackle. Same role.
“Ben understands what his role is to help, and Russell was able to take the calls and do something with it,” Carroll said. “Now, that’s Day One. Tomorrow, it might get a little more confusing for him and he may be finding out that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know here in a couple days.
“But it’s a good start.”
Okung was just one of the new players Carroll had his eye on during this first practice in the team’s three-day minicamp. He also was one that Carroll couldn’t wait to dissect even more while watching film of the practice. But there were more. A lot more.
That will happen when you bring 101 players to camp – including nine draft choices, and 15 college free agents who were signed after the draft.
“There’s so much to see, I can’t wait to get back to the film so we can pick the guys out,” Carroll said.
Carroll had to like what he saw from the new kid playing Walter Jones’ old position and wearing Steve Hutchinson’s old number.