As Senior Bowl practice for the American roster wrapped up late Tuesday afternoon at Hancock Whitney Stadium, Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy peeled off his team-issued pullover.
Underneath, he wore a T-shirt from Veets — a bar at the heart of everything that happens during Senior Bowl week — and Getsy posed with Tim Zetts, the Bears assistant tight ends coach, for a photo at midfield.
Getsy, the head coach of the American roster and one of four Bears assistants coaching this week, is making the most of the experience. It’s a chance for exposure, some networking and most important an opportunity to be a trusted voice in pre-draft evaluations.
It’s not the same as being an NFL head coach, but Getsy was charged with planning out the week — an important task to gain experience with for the next time he’s in the cycle of head-coaching candidates. The Denver Broncos interviewed him for their top spot a year ago.
“The main thing is to find a way to get our football team better,” Getsy said. “And this gives you a good opportunity to dive into the type of men they are.
“I’m in every meeting room. I am going to every position and getting to see how the guys interact and how they learn. Trying to get as much information on as many of these guys as possible.”
He said he found himself stepping back at moments during practice and putting the coaching hat aside to evaluate players, who are learning the scheme on the fly and implementing it. College tape is king in the evaluation process, and combine results and medical information go a long way. But there are more pieces to the puzzle.
“See how fast they learn something and go out and perform it quickly,” Getsy said. “That is the world we live in. We can’t do the same thing every week. Have to be able to adapt.”
It was a challenge to learn the coaching staff assembled for the two rosters, with assistants from 16 of the league’s 32 teams. That makes a clear line of communication essential. It also meant the week off that Bears coach Matt Eberflus gave his staff was a full week of planning for Getsy.
“The exposure to the players is the main reason (for being here),” he said. “But to be able to meet other coaches and kind of learn from them, and then on top of that maybe give them something, that part of it is the best. The networking part, getting to see good, young coaches, it has been a tremendous opportunity.”
Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy called Getsy “really easy to deal with” and credited Getsy with getting two offensive line coaches for each roster. Of course, that’s a position the Bears will be looking at closely.
Nagy, a longtime NFL scout, shared a funny anecdote of how his request for two O-line coaches initially was denied.
“When the coaching list first came out, there was only supposed to be one offensive line coach,” Nagy said. “And on the first introductory call with the league when we were voting on the staffs, I was like, ‘Guys, I don’t think we can get through the week with one offensive line coach on each team.’
“It didn’t happen. I lobbied for it, I got shot down. And the next day I got a call from Luke and he was like, ‘I don’t know how we’re getting through the week with only one offensive line coach.’ We see a lot of things the same.”
With Getsy pushing for more help in the trenches, the league agreed to it.
As far as the Bears and working to help quarterback Justin Fields, Getsy said the staff hasn’t started a deep dive into the specifics of the offseason plan.
”When we get back next week, we’ll begin that phase,” he said. “We’re putting it all together, so when I get back we can hit that running.
“We took that time to do exit interviews and I spent a lot of time with each guy. I made sure I spent 20 to 30 minutes with each guy to really dive into the process and make sure we’re giving them everything they need to be successful.”
Bear down (in Mobile)
- There aren’t a lot of head coaches present, but Eberflus was at both practices, spending time on his own and with general manager Ryan Poles. Other head coaches spotted included Brian Daboll (New York Giants), Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints) and Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans).
- Eberflus has to hire a defensive backs coach to replace James Rowe, who left for the University of South Florida. That process could be finalized this week.
- Ohio State right tackle Dawand Jones was a mountain of a man during the National practice in the morning, mauling a handful of defensive ends. He measured 6-foot-8 and weighed 375 pounds with a incredible 89½-inch wingspan. Jones can make up for a lack of quickness with his sheer size and power, and that was on full display.
- Maryland left tackle Jaelyn Duncan looked good in the National practice as well. North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch was working at left guard. Many NFL scouts believe Mauch projects as an interior lineman.
- Auburn defensive end Derick Hall had a nice practice for the American squad. He’s 6-2, 252 with 34⅜-inch arms and flashed a nice arm/under move getting to the quarterback. He has the range to play in space too.
- Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave projects as a Y tight end with the ability to be a big-time target in the middle of the field. A knee injury limited him to two games in the fall, but he looks like a Day 2 pick at worst.
- Two American cornerbacks stood out: Kansas State’s Julius Brents and Miami’s Tyrique Stevenson.