There was a great article in the Sunday Oregonian on Mike Hass that I keep forgetting to post to this site. Here it is:
Sunday, May 21, 2006
METAIRIE, La. -- Curtis Johnson, the New Orleans Saints' wide receivers coach, stopped the drill.
One of the free agent receivers in the Saints' rookie camp had just made a decent play on a short out pattern, turning his hips in the direction of the quarterback and catching the perfectly thrown pass while scissors-stepping toward the left sideline.
Johnson's point: That isn't the way he wants the Saints receivers to run an out pattern. Rather than face the quarterback, the receiver is supposed to be at full speed when the ball arrives, increasing the chance of being able to turn up field after making the catch.
"Like this," said Johnson, running toward the sideline with his arms pumping, knees high, hips squared and perpendicular to the line of scrimmage. "Not like this, like you were in 'Chorus Line.' "
Mike Hass was up next.
The Saints' sixth-round draft pick from Oregon State sprinted 12 yards, curled in, caught a pass that was a little high, cradled the ball and turned up field and ran.
"Hey, Hass!" Johnson hollered. "That's what I'm talkin' about, right there! I like that!"
The play was hardly spectacular. But it was emblematic of how Hass will make it in the NFL, if he makes it at all. He will run a route the way it's supposed to be run and catch anything he can get his hands on.
"I really like Mike," said Johnson, who acknowledged that Hass was "a little bit faster than I thought he would be."
"Mike catches the ball. That's the No. 1 thing. I mean, we were one of the teams that dropped the most balls in the NFL last year, so Mike is a guy that can definitely help us."
Hass is coming to a franchise that is trying to get a fresh start on many levels. It's an almost ideal situation for a player who is accustomed to disproving doubters.
"The jobs are open," Johnson said. "It wasn't as if we won the Super Bowl. . . Mike is a player that we definitely want to be on the team."
It's one advantage of at least being a draft choice, even a late one. Teams root for draft choices, even late ones, to make the roster. Every draft choice cut represents a defeat in the scouting process, and teams don't like admitting defeats.
Still, Hass understood the need to perform from the start.
"They've drafted you and they have an idea what you can do, but they haven't seen you play in person, so you want to put your best foot forward the first time they see you," Hass said. "Nothing is guaranteed in the NFL."
I'm glad to see Mike follow through. We've had so many great athletes come through Oregon State, but we've never heard that much about them after they leave Corvallis.
Check out the link at the beginning of the post to read the rest of the article. I strongly reccomend it, it's a great article.
A hat tip the Jim Beseda at the Oregonian as well. Keep up the good work, Mike.