In the months leading up to the NFL combine, several collegiate football players will spend time at the Athletic & Personal Development program preparing themselves for the rigors and pressure of the combine, which will help determine how high or low a player goes in the NFL Draft. Here's one of the players:
A two-way star coming out of high school, Rodger Saffold started his collegiate career at Indiana unsure of which side of the ball that they would play him. A couple games into his freshman year, not only did they put him on the offensive line, but placed on him the pressure of protecting the quarterback's blindside as the left tackle. Four years later, Saffold was selected for the East-West Shrine Game and earned 2nd team All-Big Ten honors.
Rodger Saffold on...
...training at IMG Academy: I was considering just staying on campus and working out. My trainer has worked with me for four years and knows me better than anyone. But here, it's not just the strength and conditioning. The off-the-field things like vision training, game on and mental conditioning - I have some of those things available to me at home, but not all of them.
Here, I'm working all day. This will probably be the best that you can go to get what I call "the stress and pressure" to make you better. Every single bit of your time is spent trying to help you achieve your goals. I love that.
...Indiana's 4-8 season: Just seeing how we were able to come back each week and how almost every game came down to a play or two at the end really set a foundation for the young guys to come back strong for the next season. Of course, I wanted to leave on a good note, but I think myself and the other seniors set a good standard for future seasons. It was only by one game, but we still improved from last season.
...playing left tackle: My freshman year, I was about 260. The Big Ten had some ridiculous pass rushers that year. I was 18 and they were 22 or 23-year-old grown men. I told my quarterback, "I've got your back, but you better be fast just in case." It helped me because I learned more about technique, then I just kept adding size and strength.
...the best and worst things about being an offensive lineman: The best part is just seeing someone score. When you see someone running in the end zone, and you know that you gave the QB enough time to make a throw or you gave the running back enough of a lane to score, that's all I need to see.
The worst are the 80-yard touchdowns. I'm a big man. I'm not trying to run all the way down the field to celebrate with you. I'll run to the 50-yard line and say, "Good job," then meet you on the sidelines.
...playing defensive tackle: Back in high school, I would get after it. I was always in the backfield, but I'd always flush him to someone else, and they got the sack. It was so much, though, because everything was so much less technical. All I had to do was rush straight. And playing both ways helped me learn the tricks of the trade.
...being 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds: Everything's good. I consider myself one of the most athletic offensive lineman you'll find. I don't know if it's because I was light before and gained weight or what? Of course, I've got to get a SUV because I'm not fitting in something tiny. And when it's time for pull-ups, it's going to be a little harder getting all this weight over the bar.
...his SPEA management college major: It's pretty much the public sector side of business. I love working with people. I like the financial side of business. You learn about the bureaucracy of the public sector, about private businesses, economics, accounting, everything. My first love is football, but after that I've got my plan figured out. I'm going to finish school, then if, God-forbid, anything happens to me, I'll be business savvy. It might even be in non-profits.
...his off-field hobbies: I'm an Xbox 360 maniac. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare2 . If anyone is strong-willed enough, tell them to come see me. I've got my little TV, but I'm still good. The NCAA and NFL games are fun to look at, but I live it. Everybody asks me, "Why don't you play NCAA?" Man, I live it.
I'll shoot around on the basketball court a little bit, but it's all about football. This is my life. I've got to put myself in the best position, so I have to make sacrifices. Call of Duty isn't one of them. I can only hurt my trigger finger or something.
...what people don't know about him: I'm a sucker for sci-fi films. I saw Avatar. Tell everyone to see it. I will watch that 3-hour movie again. My mom and I go see all of those movies - Matrix, everything. For the mobster and violent stuff, I go straight to Pop Dukes. I better call him, "Father." He'll get embarrassed if I call him Pop Dukes.