(EDIT: Sorry for posting a second blog on the NU duo...I wrote and submitted my blog before I noticed my teammate Bob had done the same. Oh, well. Can't have too much information on these dudes, can you?)
Before wide receiver Eric Peterman could report to Halas Hall on Thursday, he had to handle a little business at Northwestern: Two midterm exams, including one in his onerous Economics of State and Local Governments class.
When quarterback C.J. Bacher returns to Northwestern after this weekend's rookie mini-camp in Lake Forest, he has to write a paper due Tuesday as he wraps up grad-school responsibilities.
It was clear, however, that they were overjoyed to be donning official Bears equipment for Friday's two-hour practice. Not that their first day as pros lasted just two hours. Just as if they were at Camp Kenosha with the Wildcats, their workday was from sun-up to late afternoon.
“(The coaches') attitude is very laid-back. They’re very helpful," said Peterman, who wore No. 86. "The information that they’re throwing at us is very intense. We put a lot of stuff in today. We went with special teams first and put all of our special teams stuff in this morning. Then we went right from that to offense and defense and put all the offense and defense in."
Peterman, who signed a free-agent contract that only guarantees that he'll take part in "OTAs" later this spring and summer, is trying to make himself as indispensable as possible. Since the Bears are likely to carry only 5 receivers during the season -- and they have six returning wideouts, three draft picks and two tryout guys along with Peterman -- he knows he must diversify.
It helps that he served as a "gunner" on Northwestern's punt coverage team all four years. That's just one role for which he volunteered.
"I’ve been catching punts, too. I know they have one of the best returners in the league, but they always need a backup. I feel like I can add that to my game. I told them I’d run down on kickoff if they needed me to, anywhere on kickoff return…also being a destroyer on punt return also. I’m kind of opening myself up, tell them to put me wherever they want me and I’ll find a place on the field that I can play."
Bacher, now No. 16, must do more than Peterman in order to be asked to return for OTAs. Bacher, along with Florida State's Drew Weatherford and Missouri's Chase Patton, are here on a tryout basis with no guarantee beyond Sunday.
Maybe this is reading a little too much into things, but when the Bears went 7-on-7 for 25 plays at the end of Friday's workout, Bacher was the first quarterback to get a chance. He promptly fired completions to third-round pick Juaquin Iglesias, seventh-round pick Derek Kinder and tryout guy George Smith.
“That came from a classroom thing," Bacher said. "From getting up on the (chalk)board and stuff."
Since the Bears have just three QBs on their roster (Jay Cutler, Brett Basanez and Caleb Hanie), there's always a chance they might have to add one or two of the tryout guys for OTAs.
“I hope to know something," Bacher said. "I’m on a tryout basis. I haven’t signed a contract yet. I’ve been told that if I perform out here, I might be able to sign a contract at the end of the week. We’ll see what happens, but I’m really just hoping I can come here and play well.”