Heightened importance for this year’s Senior Bowl: Since Ian Book previously stepped on a football field for a College Football Playoff semifinal against Alabama, the NFL has announced a different format for this year’s scouting combine that defers his formal workout for NFL clubs to Notre Dame’s pro day. The league also has announced that teams won’t be permitted to host 2021 draft prospects for visits to their facilities.
That ramps up the importance of the Fighting Irish pro day workout, which Book said hasn’t yet been scheduled, and makes his performance at the Senior Bowl all the more crucial.
“It’s a weird year. Every day you’re just kind of waiting for some news, like something being canceled, or not (canceled),” Book said. “As for the Senior Bowl, I’m really happy they could get this going. I talked to (executive director) Jim Nagy and thanked him that we could get this thing rolling. The next thing is pro day — no combine, no visits — that just makes every little thing more important. This is more important, the pro day is more important, and it’s about taking every rep one at a time and going out and competing.”
Book is one of three quarterbacks, along with Sam Ehlinger of Texas and Feleipe Franks of Arkansas, competing on the National team at the annual all-star game.
Book fired some impressive throws at Tuesday’s practice, including a well-timed deep out to Wake Forest’s Sage Surratt that drew a buzz from Miami Dolphins coaches, who are instructing the National squad this week. Book said his top priority this week is to quickly absorb the Senior Bowl playbook and show teammates and the Dolphins staff an ability to command the huddle with confident leadership.
“There are some things I did today that I’ll want to go in the film room and change,” he said. “It’s a good friendly competition (with Ehlinger and Franks). These guys want to work. We’ve been studying, they’ve pushed me, and I’ve pushed them, but it’s a competition.”
Borland on Meyer: Ohio State’s Tuf Borland believes former Buckeyes and new Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer will have no trouble transitioning to the NFL, even though he’s never coached on Sundays before. The linebacker prospect spent the first three years of his OSU career playing for Meyer, who stepped down after the 2018 season.
“Coach Meyer is an unbelievable coach who has been around a long time,” Borland said. “I think he’s studied the (NFL) game in his time away, and I think he’s going to do an awesome job.
“You talk to every player that’s ever played for coach Meyer, and all his players respect him, they love him. He’s going to do an amazing job.”
Meyer’s new club has two first-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft with which to rebuild the roster, including the No. 1 overall selection.
Flores not sweating Smith’s size: Alabama star WR DeVonta Smith did not participate in the weigh-in on Tuesday, although he intends to be weighed and measured for height at Alabama’s pro day. Smith, the explosive Heisman Trophy winner, is listed at just 175 pounds on the Alabama roster. The Dolphins’ Brian Flores, who is coaching Smith’s National team this week, indicated little concern, however, about Smith’s size.
“If you’re a good player — I mean, you can nitpick all you want about a guy’s size — good players are good players are good players,” Flores said. “I think we all can see that, and this guy’s a very good player. He made a lot of plays in college, he made a lot of plays in the big games — biggest games of the year. You can nitpick all day about things on people but he’s a very good player. It’s been good getting to know him, too. He’s a good kid, too.”
Smith is unavailable to play or practice due to a finger injury sustained in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.