Monday, May 4, 2009

Vanderbear Update: D.J. shuts down George — then Earl takes them to Denny's, though he doesn't feel like the number 85

D.J. Moore is already impressing coach Lovie Smith in the Bears' mini camp. He had an especially fine play the other day when he stripped the ball from a receiver. Unfortunately, the receiver was George Smith, D.J.'s former Vandy teammate and a long-shot to even make it to pre-season camp.

But everything's cool. Earl Bennett took D.J. and George out to dinner. To Denny's. Hey, this economy is tough on everybody.

Speaking of Earl, he's changed his number from 85 to 80. “It wasn’t anything specific,” he told the official Bears site. “I just wanted to change my number. I feel like ‘80’ fits me a little bit better. I think it’s in my character. I didn’t really think ‘85’ really fit it."

You know, I don't really feel like an 85 myself.

Did you know that Earl, who didn't have a catch last season, was the No. 1 receiver on the Bears' draft board last year? Who does Earl have photos of?

Turns out that Rex Hogan, a regional scout for the Bears, lives in Nashville and his wife actually works at Vanderbilt. And now the Bears have five Vanderbilt players — six if you count George Smith, which I wouldn't do if I were you.

So what do Hogan and other scouts see in Vanderbilt players? "The one thing scouts in general like about our guys is they're smart guys," says Vandy assistant coach Charlie Fischer. "They're sharp guys on and off the field. They can learn, and they're good locker-room presences. They're stable guys, and that's important."

In D.J.'s case, in addition to his incredible story of perseverance, he's got hops.

“The guy’s got incredible leaping ability," Bears GM Jerry Angelo says of D.J. "He made an interception against Georgia — there aren’t three guys in the league that can make that interception going up for the ball. He’s got some special ball skills.”

So while some NFL folks couldn't get past that one catch A.J. Green had over D.J. in the first quarter, Angelo remembers that great pick against the Dawgs a few minutes later.

And so do I.

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