SANTA CLARA –
Phillip Davis, the undrafted rookie cornerback from Tulane, doesn’t exactly get the star treatment to begin practice.
He’s part of the scout kickoff team, which means he runs wind sprints. He runs about twenty of them, back and forth, one after another, and then he gets to participate in defensive back drills.
But not how you’d think. This morning, DB coach Ed Donatell wanted some of his players to practice intercepting the ball near the sideline with their hands up high. Davis didn’t get to practice the catching part – he was one of the wide receivers over whom the other DBs caught the passes. Basically, his job was to run ten more wind sprints.
Finally, Davis got a chance to compete, not just assist. He lined up with the second team defense in 11-on-11s, and on one series he got to play against the first team offense.
Alex Smith dropped back and threw to Davis’ man, Ted Ginn Jr, who let the ball go right through his hands. Davis made a sprawling interception. He was ready for his moment.
After practice I caught up with Davis and asked him a few questions.
Q: What’s it like competing for a spot on the team in training camp as an undrafted rookie?
DAVIS: It’s a blessing. It’s a really big opportunity for us guys. We kind of play with a chip on our shoulder, not being a highly drafted, highly sought-after guys, but I just thank God for the opportunity to be able to come out here and compete every day. It’s a dream come true, and not everybody gets this opportunity.
Q: What’s it like in the locker room?
DAVIS: At first, it was a little lonesome, this being my first time out here on the West Coast. It’s definitely an adjustment for me. Over the time of camp it’s been really good in the locker room. A lot of guys have been really helpful in helping me, as far as extracurricular stuff as well as on the football field. There are a lot of great guys in there with the DBs as well as guys who aren’t in my position group. All of them have really helped me in this transition.
Q: Have there been a couple of players in particular that have taken you under their wing?
DAVIS: Phillip Adams, he’s helped me out. Also, Shawntae (Spencer), he’s helped me out, and T-Brock (Tramaine Brock), he’s helped me out as well.
Q: Do you feel you get enough opportunities to prove yourself?
DAVIS: I just go out there with the mindset to do by best in everything, whether it’s me running down on scout kickoffs, whether it’s getting reps out there on scout defense to work on my own technique. But it’s been pretty good as far as my reps. Coach D (Donatell) and Coach (Greg) Jackson have done a good job rotating some of the guys. I’m not one of the starters, so I get significantly less reps than the other guys, but it’s worked well and I’ve gotten enough of an opportunity to work on my craft and improve my game.
Q: What do you think your chances are of making this team?
DAVIS: I’m trying to work hard in everything that I do, and so I just leave it all up to God. I’m out here working every day. You have a little thought in the back of your mind of wanting to make the team, but I keep it on the back-burner. Right now I’m just taking it day-by-day and taking each day as a new blessing.
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