- Associated Press - Friday, May 8, 2015

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona coach Bruce Arians has made little secret of how unprepared players from the spread offenses prevalent in college football are for a transition to the NFL.

On Friday, he dealt with the problem firsthand on the opening day of Cardinals rookie minicamp.

Arians said he found it “amazing” how unfamiliar with the pro-style offense some of the youngsters are.

He said he probably would use the spread if he was a college coach, but it sure makes his work more difficult.

“We have two kids who have never been in a huddle,” he said. “We have two defensive linemen who have never heard a quarterback say a snap count, so they kept jumping offsides. It just amazes me sometimes what these guys get taught. It’s great college offenses, but we’ve got a lot of teaching to do when we get them.”

Of the 50 players in the first of the three-day camp, seven were draft picks, 14 were signed as unrestricted free agents and 19 were there on a tryout basis.

The latter category included former Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly, one of the players trying to get familiar with taking a snap under center and using a snap count.

“It’s different,” Kelly said, “especially being in the shotgun the majority of my college career and getting the plays from the sideline. The verbiage, that’s the big thing that I’m learning. There are going to be mistakes. You’ve just got to minimize those as much as you can and go out there and play fast.”

New Zealander Paul Lasike, a former rugby player turned fullback from BYU who signed with Arizona as a rookie free agent, acknowledged the difficulties he’s facing.

“It was stressful man, for me especially,” he said. “I’m a slow learner, and that’s the fastest way to kind of get cut or do bad is not to learn fast. I’ve just been putting my head in the books every chance that I can get.”

Lasike, also from a spread offense system, likes the huddling up though.

“Getting set, getting back in the huddle, getting everyone knowing where they’re going first and then banging helmets right after that,” he said. “So I like that aspect rather than the quick huddle with what we were doing in college.”

Draft picks, of course, are expected to make the team. Some of those signed as undrafted free agents have been known to succeed.

The odds are longer, though, for those simply trying out for a team that has most roster positions set.

“We kept three last year,” Arians said. “They were better than the guys we had on the roster. The big thing for a tryout guy is show you can absorb the information and come right out and play. If you’re trying out and you’re making a lot of mistakes it’s going to be really hard for you, but if you can learn in a meeting and come play fast, then you’re going to give yourself a chance to perform at a good level. That’s your best shot at making it.”


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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