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Gilyard Playing Catch Up

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  • Gilyard Playing Catch Up

    Gilyard Playing Catch Up
    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    About 10 minutes after their teammates had cleared the practice fields at the Russell Training Center, rookie quarterback Sam Bradford and rookie receiver Mardy Gilyard remained in place.

    The duo that could potentially be the next great passer-receiver combo in Rams history has designs on making their presence felt right away.

    “It is nice to have him here,” Bradford said. “Now that he’s here we are going to try to put in as much work as possible. It’s good for us to stay after practice. I am learning, he’s learning and hopefully we can get on the same page.”

    While Bradford and Gilyard were pretty much on the same page as the rest of the rookies at April’s rookie minicamp, it’s safe to say Bradford and the rest of the rookie class is a chapter or so ahead of Gilyard at this weekend’s full squad minicamp.

    After completing those five practices in April, Gilyard was forced to head back to Cincinnati before returning for this weekend’s minicamp. NCAA rules state that a drafted player must stay with his school until his graduating class has completed its coursework.

    There are no exceptions to the rule so even though Gilyard withdrew from classes before the semester to prepare for the draft; he had to return to his school until the time was right.

    The time became right Thursday as Gilyard arrived in St. Louis and went through his first practice with the team since May 1. With a little rust on him in terms of his knowledge of the playbook, it was no surprise to see Gilyard working closely with Bradford to try to get up to speed.

    “It’s just another tool that I’m using – working with my quarterback – trying to get in and go over more plays,” Gilyard said. “He gives me a small percentage of plays after practice to try to keep me brushed up on what we are doing and keep me in line.”

    For the past month-plus, while his teammates have been going through organized team activities leading into this final minicamp, Gilyard has been doing whatever possible to stay up to speed so that he wouldn’t be too far behind on his return.

    In Cincinnati, Gilyard says he worked out regularly with current Bearcats quarterback Zach Collaros catching passes and running routes so that he could at least try to simulate what he had learned in his short time in St. Louis.

    Of course, the Rams did their best to try to keep him on schedule from a distance. They provided Gilyard with pieces of the playbook as well as video for him to study. For conditioning, Gilyard had a regiment he was to follow so that he wouldn’t be grasping for air when he got back for this week’s minicamp.

    “There was that going on,” Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “He was lifting and running. You don’t want to come out here having not done anything and then play at the speed of this league.”

    For his own little workout twist, Gilyard says he took steps to try to make his daily work as difficult as possible with the idea that if he pushed himself as hard as possible, things would be a bit easier when he got back to St. Louis.

    That included doing things that a player wouldn’t have to do much in the NFL like working on catching the ball behind his back and trying to catch balls from the JUGS machine while seated on the ground.

    But it’s the mental aspect of the game that Gilyard is hoping to sharpen up. While he was able to work on the route tree, where to line up and details, it’s the little things like breaking the huddle and such that he was missing out on.

    And learning an NFL playbook is a monumental task in and of itself.

    “That’s it,” Gilyard said. “The catching and the running is the easy part. The playbook is like a phone book, like the Yellow Pages, man. I am about halfway through the thing.”

    In an effort to stay as sharp as possible on all things playbook related, Gilyard says he stayed in regular contact with receivers coach Nolan Cromwell and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

    While those two coaches were only able to do so much, Gilyard says he was in touch most often with Bradford, picking his brain about things going on with the offense and trying to stay refreshed on the offensive concepts.

    “I have a lot of catching up to do,” Gilyard said. “I came in behind the bubble but I have no doubt in my mind I am going to catch up. I have a lot of time on my hands to study and mesh with the coaches and picking their brains and just trying to gather everything I can from the vets and the rookies that have been here and just kind of going out and making sure I can stay focused out here while we are out here on the field.”

    Although the NCAA rule has cost Gilyard valuable time to learn and improve with his teammates, he has no complaints about the bylaw that has kept him from participating for more than a month.

    Gilyard was the victim of an armed robbery not long after returning to Cincinnati but says even that doesn’t affect his opinions on the rules and that he’s “just blessed nobody got hurt.”

    Upon his return to the practice field on Thursday morning, Gilyard admitted to a little rust, saying he slipped while running the same route on a few occasions.

    For their part, Cromwell and the Rams coaches did what they could to help Gilyard get adjusted. Cromwell even helped Gilyard in the huddle by pointing out where he was supposed to line up for certain plays.

    After this weekend’s minicamp wraps up on Saturday, Gilyard will get a few more OTAs and a week or so with the team to try to get as close to caught up as possible.

    While Gilyard is quick to acknowledge that he is a bit “behind the bubble,” he’s also confident that with the time allotted and a few more after practice sessions with Bradford, he’ll get where he needs to be.

    And he’ll do whatever it takes to get to that place.

    “We are out here working because we want to be those guys that help contribute right away,” Gilyard said. “I don’t want to be known as a guy who is just a special teams guy. I want to be a guy that can come in and contribute on special teams as well as offense. I am just going to do whatever coach wants me to do. If they want me to serve water, I’ll serve water. Gatorade, I’ll crack the top. I am just that guy who is trying to come in and contribute the best way I can.”

  • #2
    Re: Gilyard Playing Catch Up

    Glad to see a man keep his commitments. And graduating on time was a commitment well-kept. Character counts, and Marty has plenty of character.


    Related Topics


    • r8rh8rmike
      Gilyard Shows Perseverance
      by r8rh8rmike
      Gilyard shows perseverance


      Mardy Gilyard did a little bit of everything waiting for his name to be called during the NFL draft. He watched some of the draft coverage on TV. He went outside to relax with his family. Played with his dog. Went fishing.

      But Round 1 on Thursday, and Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday, came and went without his name called. When he finally got the call Saturday morning, he was about to go crabbing.


      "Crabbing is an old school way of catching crabs," Gilyard said Saturday in a conference call with St. Louis reporters. "I'm from the backwoods, and we're country folk back here. ... Chicken necks (as bait), string and netting — just kind of catching crabs.

      "We're actually throwing a big party for me here in a couple hours, so I've got to be the man to bring back some crabs. Everybody loves seafood."

      Everybody loves a good human interest story, too, and that's Gilyard, the University of Cincinnati wide receiver drafted in the fourth round by the Rams.

      Less than four months earlier, Gilyard had related some of his experiences growing up to reporters attending the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, once breaking down into tears. He grew up in poverty and with an allegedly abusive father in Bunnell, Fla., a tiny town near the northeast coast of Florida.

      They ate mayonnaise sandwiches. And syrup sandwiches. Took their cereal with water when there was no milk. And when there was milk, sometimes added sugar to it for added flavor. Gilyard said he was so skinny he was "like a lollipop."

      At times the electricity was shut off because the bills weren't paid. But with the help of his mother, Viola Gilyard Crudup, and his older brother Otis (now a Flagler County, Fla., police officer), Gilyard got through. All the way through to a football scholarship far away from home in Ohio.

      But there were struggles and heartache in Cincinnati as well. Following his freshman season in 2005, Gilyard had his scholarship pulled because of academic problems. Unable to afford tuition and housing, Gilyard worked three jobs: construction, pizza delivery and selling cutlery door-to-door. For months, he slept in a car.

      By the fall of '07 he had righted himself, was back in school, and back on the team. The rest is, well, Bearcats history. As a junior in '08, Gliyard was named All-Big East Conference as a receiver and a returner, catching 82 passes for a school-record 1,276 yards and scoring two touchdowns on kickoff returns.

      As a senior last fall, Gilyard was an All-American, finishing second nationally in all-purpose yards, averaging 206.9 a game. He caught a school-record 87 passes for 1,191 yards, and added two more TDs on kickoff returns and another TD on a punt return.
      -04-26-2010, 10:34 PM
    • Varg6
      Rams rookie Mardy Gilyard goes from 'Rags to Riches'
      by Varg6
      Per Yahoo

      By Chris Chase

      Four years ago, Mardy Gilyard(notes) had his athletic scholarship revoked, was working four jobs in order to pay a $10,000 debt to the school and spent his nights homeless in a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am. Now, he's an NFL wide receiver.

      After being kicked out of the University of Cincinnati for academic reasons following his freshman year, Gilyard wanted to return home to Florida, a move which likely would have ended his football career. His mom and older brother convinced him to stay in Ohio, though, and Gilyard says during that stretch he grew up from the "knucklehead, arrogant, cocky, immature" kid he was. He worked four jobs (including as a pizza delivery man and door-to-door knife salesman) in order to fulfill his financial obligation to the school, a decision which paid off when new Coach Brian Kelly(notes) reinstated him to the team. Gilyard left the Bearcats as the all-time leading receiver in school history.

      The offense-deficient Rams selected him with the first pick in the fourth round of last month's draft and expect the smooth route-runner to contribute this year alongside fellow rookie Sam Bradford(notes). Gilyard also returned punts during last weekend's minicamp.

      Give me a guy like Gilyard any day over a player with more talent but questionable work ethic. Success and failure in the NFL has much less to do with 40 times and bench press reps than it does with wanting it and knowing what it takes to get it. Gilyard could have turned his back on his debt, moved home and harbored delusions of making the NFL without ever really working for it. Instead, he lived in a car, paid off the money he owed, got back in the good graces of Cincinnati and earned his spot in the NFL.
      "I went from rags to riches," he told USA Today.

      "It just showed I'm a hard worker and that I could fight through adversity. That's all the game of football is: It's about fighting through adversity."

      If that's the case, Gilyard should have a long and prosperous career in the front of him.
      -05-12-2010, 05:58 AM
    • harrydog
      Mardy Gilyard
      by harrydog
      I notice there seems to be a lot of resentment toward Gilyard around here. I agree that it's unlikely he'll be around once the season starts but I think much of the criticism directed at him is somewhat unwarranted.
      Yes, he appears to be a slow learner. Different players have different learning curves. I also don't know why so many people are saying he doesn't want to work hard at making the team. That's pure speculation. He has proven to be a determined person, willing to work hard in the past.
      Remember that he missed minicamp because the University of Cincinnati hadn't held graduation yet. He had a pulled hamstring that kept him out of a game or two and he had a nagging wrist injury that required surgery after the season.
      I think that given time he would have been an effective weapon for Bradford and I expect that he will eventually be productive for an NFL team somewhere. Things have not gone well for him in St. Louis but he's a good person and I hope he finds success wherever he ends up.
      -06-06-2011, 06:27 PM
    • Rambunctious
      Gilyard article
      by Rambunctious
      He sure isn't talking like a one and done.

      Can't lock out Gilyard

      UC alum preps for 2nd NFL season

      By Spencer Dennis | TNR Contributor
      Published: Sunday, May 8, 2011
      Updated: Sunday, May 8, 2011 13:05

      Mardy Gilyard, the most decorated wideout in Bearcat football history and the 99th selection of the 2010 draft, remembers his proverbial "Welcome to the NFL" hit.
      He knows it came in week two against the Oakland Raiders, but not who the culprit was.
      "To [be] honest, I don't even know [who hit me]," Gilyard said. "I just knew it was a truck."
      The former first-team all-American posted a disappointing rookie campaign in which caught just six passes for 63 yards. Gilyard received a signing bonus worth more than $500,000 for signing his four-year, $2.3 million contract with the St. Louis Rams.
      With his near-future secure, Gilyard is focused on crafting his game while avoiding the distractions that come with being a rich, young pro.
      "You have all this money now, all this fame now," Gilyard said. "All of a sudden you're a celebrity overnight and everyone wants a piece of you."
      On the rare occasion that Gilyard does have free time, he prefers the company of veteran teammates. Super Bowl winning defensive tackle Fred "Feezy" Robbins and pro-bowl running back Steven "Jebediah" Jackson.
      "I pluck a lot of veteran's brains," Gilyard said "Fred Robbins, [who won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants], I call him ‘Feezy.' Stephen Jackson, I call him ‘Jebediah' because he looks so old school. These guys are not going to lead me astray because they have the best interest of the team in mind."
      Gilyard has not approached his conditioning any differently because of the looming 2011 lockout including hitting the gym instead of attending draft parties.
      "That [lockout] is too complicated," Gilyard said. "I don't know anything about it."
      While he did not watch the draft, he did take note of the Rams drafting receivers in the third and fourth round.
      "[It's the] same way in college. You have freshman that come in every year," Gilyard said. "[St. Louis] had a nice draft class and I'm excited for when those guys come in, because we want to win now. That's our mentality."
      Gilyard has been training in a gym —near his home in St. Louis— seven days a week, typically arriving at 7 a.m. His regiment is mainly focused on strengthening an injured wrist that bothered him throughout his first NFL season.
      "I [hurt my wrist] before I even went into rookie camp," Gilyard said. "I slipped and fell back home. It was hurt [pretty...
      -05-10-2011, 07:44 AM
    • r8rh8rmike
      Rookie Might Be Ready For More Playing Time
      by r8rh8rmike
      Rookie might be ready for more playing time

      By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer
      Sep 23, 5:10 pm EDT

      ST. LOUIS (AP)—There’s a good reason Mardy Gilyard(notes) has yet to get much playing time for the wide receiver-needy St. Louis Rams. He’s still learning the plays.

      The fourth-round pick out of Cincinnati got a late start because his class didn’t graduate until June, missed some training camp time due to injury and is the backup at three spots for the Rams (0-2). That’s a lot to absorb, so much that quarterback Sam Bradford approached Gilyard last week and asked why he had been tentative in his routes.

      “He said ‘If you’re out there and you’re indecisive, then I can’t throw you the ball,”’ Gilyard said. “And a good quarterback shouldn’t. If I’m looking good and I’m running good and running my routes well, give me the ball.”

      The problem was the size of the Rams’ playbook. Gilyard has seen Chad Ochocinco’s playbook, yet he still was shocked when he got his and remembers telling his mother, “This book, it’s like a phone book!”’

      “She was like, ‘Honey, just sit down, go in your room, light a candle, put your feet in the air.’ And I said, ‘Mom, how am I going to read with a candle?”’

      Though he has no receptions yet, Gilyard has been the primary kickoff return man with a 25.3-yard average and fearless approach. He was happy to take his first big hit on a return last week at Oakland—at least a few minutes after the fact, once the cobwebs cleared.

      After watching a replay that showed teammate Bryan Kehl blocking tackler Quinton Groves into his path, he reconsidered and now wants another big hit as a rite of passage.

      “All in all it wasn’t like he came down freely. So I need a big hit just so I’m not surprised, know what I mean?” Gilyard said. “Hopefully not Ray Lewis. We’re finesse guys, we want to make guys miss.”

      Injuries could hasten Gilyard into action on Sunday against the Redskins. Laurent Robinson has missed the last two days of practice with a foot injury. Brandon Gibson, inactive the first two weeks, also has been getting some snaps.

      “I’m anxious to get in but I don’t want to rush it,” Gilyard said. “Really, I just need to be constant in practice.”

      Gilyard said veteran wide receiver Mark Clayton has helped him relax and cut down on the mistakes. As the Rams break the huddle, Clayton gives the rookie a three-word reminder: “alignment, assignment, technique.”

      “Everything Mark does is exactly the same,” Gilyard said. “When they see me and get frustrated, they tell me ‘You don’t have to be a Pro Bowler in one pass, just relax.”’

      It’s coming. Gilyard said he’s starting to absorb the philosophy and terminology.

      “No matter how the coaches juice it up or doll it up with shifts and motions, it’s still the same plays,” Gilyard...
      -09-24-2010, 02:42 PM