For today’s War Story Wednesday, we’re turning things over to this week’s interview subject, former Dolphins scout Mike Murphy. He goes into depth, with some interesting specifics, on what an NFL scout’s day looks like.
“You set your schedule in camp before you leave, and for the most part, you are gone 10 days to two weeks at a time. This can get drawn out but here goes.
“If you are a morning person and like to work out, this is the best time to do it, so you are usually up around 5-5:30 a.m. to get an hour in(, followed by eating) breakfast and (be) at your school somewhere around 7-8 a.m. depending on what time the school allows you in. You sit in a dark room by yourself or with other scouts and grind out the game tape.
“The game tape is not what you see on TV. There is no sound, and it is a sideline and end-zone view, and you watch a minimum of three games plus special teams. The biggest issue is to stay focused when it is quiet and you are in a dark room. At some point during the day, the pro liaison will come and talk to you regarding the players. He will either get into an in-depth conversation on players, or he will be vague. That will depend on the policy of the program set by the head coach.
“If you have watched the tape and spoken with the pro liaison, the next thing is (to) speak with the athletic trainer, strength coach and academic advisor. If you can get to a position coach, coordinator or head coach, (talk to them, too). All of these interviews help you build a bio/background on an individual player. This background can, and will, have a big bearing on the individual’s draft status. You want to dig and see if the individual can learn, and if he struggles, is it terminal, or is there a certain way he learns, and can he retain the information given to him? This will help also when you talk to your coaches about an individual player letting them know that there might be some issues with the player’s ability to learn. What we find are a lot of players that have reading comprehension issues. This causes a problem because of the volume of information given to players each and every day during training camp and the installation of an offense or defense.
“After you finish with your interviews, you head out to practice to get body types and watch the players move around. The body typing is helpful in many ways to see growth potential, for example. Are they a small-boned individual or big-boned? Large-boned players are usually naturally big and not self-made, allowing them to put on more weight, as opposed to a small-boned individual who is self-made, not naturally big, and who is susceptible to injury. Is a lineman narrow-hipped, knock-kneed, high-cut (long legs)? This will affect his ability to create power or anchor and play with good consistent leverage.
“Once you have gotten all your information and watched practice, you head to the car to drive to your next town. It could be a hop, skip and a jump down the road or a four- to five-hour drive, sometimes more. Most times, you are done with practice between 4-5 in the afternoon. Once you get to your next destination, you may have grabbed dinner on the road, or you get dinner and start typing your reports. In any event you do not start typing reports until after dinner (time frame). I have been up until 1 a.m. typing reports, but most evenings will be somewhere around 11p.m., and you are up and back at it all over again the next day.
“The job has its perks, and where else do they pay you to watch football? The thing is, it isn’t as glamorous as people think, and it is a grind. Most times, come November, there are a bunch of grumpy scouts, and that will affect how you view a player. You do find yourself coming out of camp being more lenient, but come November, you become much less lenient.”