Mack: “It was a long wait, but it was well worth it. It was exciting to be out there and get to playing football again.”
Q: There’s not a lot of wiggle room for negotiation or holdouts the way the slotting system works, but the fact that you signed and agreed and everything is taken care of before your first rookie camp, what does that say about where your mind is?
Mack: “I’m focused on football, man. Focusing on being the best player I can be and helping this team. That process all helped it out a lot more. I’m ready to play football.”
Q: Tough for a guy like you to be out there when you can’t hit people?
Mack: “Yeah, I’m ready for the pads, but even then, it’s great to get out there and get some good work in with some great coaches and a great staff. I’m excited.”
Q: What do you think about Coach Tarver and his energy?
Mack: “Oh man, he’s very excited. He makes me want to play all out and hard not to have pads on with him coaching you. It’s been fun. I can’t wait to see what happens.”
Q: Derek was also talking about how much of a relief it is to get all of that business and all of that crazy anticipation and all the predictions out of the way. Were you able to exhale for the first time today maybe?
Mack: “Exactly. I got to be where I want to be which is out on the football field playing football and showing why they brought me here. I can’t wait to keep going at it this weekend.”
Q: Coach Tarver has a reputation of being a bit of a mad ‘scientist,’ be very creative; how excited are you for your role in this defense?
Mack: “I’m very excited. Whatever the role they want to play, I’m willing and I’m able and I’m just excited. Like you said, Coach Tarver is very smart and he knows the game and I’m ready to keep learning from those guys and keep getting better as a football player.”
Q: It looks like you were playing a little bit inside, outside. You were having a lot of different positions today already?
Mack: “You never know. I’m all over the place. I like to play like that. Yeah, whatever happens, I just want to be in the backfield making plays.”
Q: What do you think of this draft class overall?
Mack: “You don’t know yet. Game one hasn’t happened yet, but we’ll see. Even then, I’m excited to come out here with the Raiders and be a part of this team and get better as a player.”
Q: You said you wanted No. 52 when we talked to you the first day you came out and then you didn’t expand on why. Your high school coach says that it’s Ray Lewis, 52, is why you’re…
Mack: “I mean, he can say that. I don’t know…”
Q: Did you have to remind yourself not to hit the quarterback, no pads?
Mack: “No, he had on that bright red jersey so you know you can’t touch him. Even then, yeah, it was good to get out and get some good work even though you like to put on pads as a football player. Yeah, you can hold it back until OTAs.”
Q: How much more excited are you then to get those pads on and start hitting and showing what you’re all about physically?
Mack: “I can’t wait. That’s the most exciting part for me is pad day. It’s always been that way for me and I just can’t wait to be a fully padded player.”
Q: Have you heard from any of the veteran guys, the defensive guys? Have they talked to you yet?
Q: Are you putting in for the special face mask you wore in college?
Mack: “Something like that…we’ll see.”
Q: Is there a reason you wore it in college?
Mack: “There was a reason I wore it in college – to keep hands out of your face. And keep you from getting neck injuries from them pulling on your face mask. We’ll see.”
Q: How’d they use you at the University of Buffalo and how does that translate to the pro game?
Mack: “I feel like I played nose tackle, 3-technique sometimes; I did everything from a football aspect at Buffalo. But even then, the preparation there with Coach Quinn and Coach Lou Tepper and even my coach in 2010 William Inge, they all prepared me for this level. In a constant pursuit and pursuit angles and all those different things, stripping the ball, and just being an all out player and using your effort, they got me ready for this level. I can’t wait to show it.”
Q: Are they throwing a bunch of info at you early on in terms of scheme? Are they dumping a bunch of stuff?
Mack: “On purpose. They’re throwing a bunch of stuff at you to see how you can adapt and how can you play under those certain types of pressure situations. Yeah, it’s been great and I can’t wait to keep learning and keep getting better as a player.”
Q: You traded in your Heat lid for a Raiders lid?
Mack: “Oh man, I had to wear it the day after because the Heat beat the Brooklyn Nets, but yeah, I’m always going to wear the Raiders cap. Raiders all day.”
Q: Anything you need to work on in terms of transitioning to the NFL game?Mack: “Oh no doubt about it. I need to work on technique, fundamentals, and just getting better as a player every day and learning and keeping my ears open to all these great coaches and all these great veteran players out here and I can’t wait.”