By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Monday, May. 14 2007

On the very first play during "team" work at the Rams' two-day rookie minicamp,
first-round draft pick Adam Carriker lined up at nose tackle — directly over
the center. The defensive lineman from Nebraska stayed inside all weekend,
alternating between the nose and the "three-technique" position at defensive
tackle.

Over the course of the 2007 season, there will be times Carriker plays end,
which was his primary position in college. But for now, he's getting a crash
course on defensive tackle. Coach Scott Linehan was impressed with what he saw
from Carriker after the fourth and final minicamp practice session late Sunday
afternoon.

"I think the biggest surprise was how comfortable he was moving inside and
playing in there," Linehan said. "He never flinched, or ever acted like there
was anything he had any problem with."

Linehan said Carriker's "lack of anxiety" at defensive tackle was one of the
best things to come out of the rookie minicamp. Carriker spent plenty of time
in the backfield Saturday and Sunday, regardless of whether he was being
single-blocked or double-teamed. He rushed the passer, sniffed out screens and
showed good strength and leverage — at least as much as you can show working
without full pads.

Things will move up a level Tuesday for Carriker, and all the rookies, when the
veterans join in for the full-squad practice sessions known as OTAs. The
rookies won't practice today. Instead, they'll spend most of the day meeting
and working with strength and conditioning coaches Dana LeDuc and Brad Roll.

Tate's fate

Talk about your high pitch counts. As the only quarterback at the minicamp,
rookie free agent Drew Tate of Iowa got in hundreds of throws over the course
of the weekend.

"My arm's fine," Tate said Sunday. "My feet are about to fall off, though."

It seems Tate made the mistake of breaking in new shoes over the weekend
instead of bringing some from home that were worn in. Although his arm came
through fine, Tate said he got "burned out" by the workload at times on
Saturday.

"You're just trying to be perfect as a free-agent rookie," Tate said.

He got an assist Sunday from quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier, who dusted off
his left arm and did some throwing during drills.

"(Tate) did fine," Linehan said. "He got a lot more comfortable with things,
especially the verbiage."

Just being able to articulate the offensive plays used over the weekend was as
much of a challenge for Tate as the physical aspect of throwing all those
passes.

"But he's got a lot of pride and he's got a great passion for the game,"
Linehan said. "And that's a great starting point."

Mother's Day visit

Majority owner Georgia Frontiere dropped in near the end of Sunday afternoon's
practice, addressed the players and then posed with them in a group photo.

"Last year she came out on the same day, and we took a picture with the
rookies," Linehan said. "I know she's somewhat of a traditionalist, and I
thought she might be here for this one."

Draft pick injured

Fifth-round draft pick Clifton Ryan, a defensive tackle from Michigan State,
sat out both practice sessions Sunday with a left calf injury.

"He got kicked in the calf (Saturday)," Linehan said. "There's quite a bit of
swelling in it."

Linehan hopes Ryan will be available Tuesday, but if not, he doesn't think the
injury will sideline Ryan for long.