ALAMEDA – Walked onto the practice field and thought the Raiders had hired Rex Ryan.
Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan cut his hair and looks a lot like his twin brother, Rex.
Ryan had hair down to his shoulders even though he got a trim back at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in February.
The reason: He’s donated his hair to Locks of Love.
“It’ll grow back,” Rob said.
Here’s what Lane Kiffin said about the new look:
“I’ll tell you a true story. I really thought he was (Rex). On Monday, when he came in, I really thought it was his brother in my office and Rob was around the corner. I sat there for awhile and he was talking to me, and I sort of walk out, and I really looked, I thought maybe his brother was coming to visit and they were playing a trick on me. I thought the exact same thing. I’ve never seen him with short hair. He looks exactly like Rex.”
Here’s what Rob looked like when he was hired by the Raiders in 2004 (his hair is shorter now than it is in the picture):
The Rob we all grew to know:
Other observations from the first day of rookie minicamp (note, there's not a whole of highlights when the guys are in shorts and helmets):
*Darren McFadden’s quickness is noticeable. He didn’t catch any passes and was chided briefly for not running the extra 40 yards after a carry during a drill, but his speed and quickness are undeniable. Can’t wait to see him in pads.
*Michael Bush appears to be in great shape and moving well. He looked good catching the ball, too. Compared to McFadden, Bush looks huge, but Kiffin said his weight is good. Bush must have spent a lot of time in the weight room.
McFadden and Bush will be available for the media tomorrow.
*Kiffin wasn’t nearly as loud as I was accustomed to him being last year.
*The media had its first session with fourth-round pick, WR Arman Shields. He’s very engaging.
Kiffin said the team views Shields the same way it saw Michael Bush last year, a player that would have been drafted higher if not for an injury.
*Seventh-round pick Chaz Schilens full first name is Chazeray. He said if he hadn’t been drafted the Raiders would have been at the top of his list as a free agent because he liked WR coach James Lofton after visiting the team.
Kiffin said his film wasn’t great, but his workouts caught the team’s attention. Schilens missed six weeks last season with a stress fracture in his left foot.
*Fifth round pick, DE Trevor Scott wasn’t sure he’d even be drafted. But at 255, he said defensive line coach Keith Millard doesn’t want him worried about putting on too much weight.
*Tyvon Branch will play strong safety. At 208 pounds, he’d like to gain about four more pounds. He already appears to have a bigger frame than Michael Huff. Then again, Huff might come back on 210 pounds for training camp.
Here’s what Branch said about returning kickoffs, something he’ll likely be asked to do:
“It’s a thrill. It’s an adrenalin rush. Everybody’s coming out to kill you so you gotta do your thing out there or you’re going to get hurt.”
On a side note, Branch looks a lot like Vinnie from Naughty by Nature.
And there's Vinnie on the left, with Treach:
*There were some notable names from the college game present for tryouts. Former Arizona State, Nebraska and Bay Area native Sam Keller was at quarterback.
Another intriguiging player is offensive lineman Shannon Tevaga. He played for offensive line coach Tom Cable at UCLA (2004-05) and might fit into the category of a player most teams would ignore but is a great fit for what the Raiders do in their zone-blocking scheme.
Players from local colleges included defensive backs Brandon Hampton (Cal), Tim Sims (Stanford) and David Lofton (Stanford) as well as linebacker Greg Van Hoesen (Cal) and punter Andrew Larson (Cal).
David is James Lofton’s son. David left practice early with an injury.
Players with connections from last season eligible for the camp were:
WR Drisan James (2007 practice squad)
RB Michael Bush (PUP list in 2007)
C Jesse Boone (2007 practice squad)
WR Will Buchanon (finished 2006 on the active roster, cut in training camp last year)
WR Johnathan Holland wasn’t on the field (seventh round pick last year still not medically cleared).
*By the way, Happy Birthday, Lane.