My Review Of Rich Ohrnberger:
The Good: First off Ohrnberger is a 3rd team All-American Offensive Guard, and a 1st team All-big Ten O-Guard. So whether you like him or don't like like him, or whether you have seen him play or not, or whether you ever even heard of him, he is a good football player and was a great college O-Guard. The goods news is that is a very gregarious guy who everybody seems to like. His sense of humor is contagious, and he is a glue-guy in the locker room. he is the type of leader all teams need on their team. He is so gregarious and funny, that he made a quick friend in Belichick. Apparently, BB has not been so impressed with just hanging out with a prospect since Deion Branch, and we all know how that worked out. Rich is going to make this team. he is a Belichick guy, and he going to make this team. The Pats have been telling every one who will listen that they love him, and that he could start this season. Obviously that is ridiculous, unless Neal and Koppen get hurt. However, I would not be surprised if he worked his way in the mix next season, the 2010 season. He is known as a great worker, and a weight room guy, and a guy who can translate weight strength to functional football strength. he is not a pretty player and will not blos anybody away with his athleticism, but he an OG/OC. To play OG or OC you don't need to be the prettiest player on the field, you need to play low, have functional football strength, and be tough as nails, Rich has these traits. The two players he compares favorable to is Dan Koppen and Stephen Neal. Koppen who was an undersized O-Center/Guard who was drafted in the 5th round. He has similar size as Rich, 6-2 290. Rich is smart, hardworking, and and strong for his size, just like Koppen. Neal was an undrafted free agent who also has similar size to Rich, 6-3, 295. Neal is a not going to overpower anybody, but gets by, by getting low, using technique, and tenacity. Ohrnberger (yeah, I can finally spell his name on the first try;-) is underrated, has to use leverage against the big guys, and his best asset is getting out to the Second level and crush puny Linebacker and DBs, just like Neal (who I think is the best pulling Guard in the NFL). Plus, the BB is of the opinion that Ohrnberger can step in and start as a rookie, like Koppen. However I think he will need a season or two of training, like Neal. Another interesting aspect of Ohrnberger's game is that though he never played O-Center at Penn ST, he played O-Center in practice every week. Just be ready Pats Fan he will be in the rotation, this season. BB loves him, and he has all the traits the Pats look for in a player: he is very mature, he has graduated already, he is a good teammate, he is very smart, he is a technician who translates what he learns in practice and the film room to the field, he played well at a top program, he received great coaching in college, he is a super hard worker, he is tough, and never gives up on the field. I'm not sure he beats out any of the starters, but BB started subbing in O-Linemen a couple of seasons ago, something that is unheard of in the NFL. So he will make the team, and he will get some playing time this season as a sub/rotation guy.
Rich trained in NJ, with Brian Marin, "Rich Ohrnberger is an old school grinder," said Brian Martin, the founder and head trainer at TEST. "He works very hard every day and will make a great pro. Not having a combine invite can hurt some players, but Rich worked extra hard for Texas Vs Nation all Star Game and for Penn State Pro Day, and he performed extremely well at both. New England is getting a great player and better person.”
The Bad: Ohrnberger was not by anybody else board a draftable prospect. I saw him rated as low as the 30th O-Guard. He is a little short, little stiff, and can be overwhelmed by bigger D-Tackles, and except for weeks when we are playing 3-4 teams, he will be facing a bigger D-Tackle in the NFL. He doesn't have the athleticism for an O-Guard. the Pats really reach for this guy, because BB liked him so much. I had to go down to Barnes and Noble to find a write up Ohrnberger. The only write I found in the Draft magazine's was in the Sporting News Draft Preview, so I bought it. I actually liked their Preview. I might get it next year as well. They had him rated as the 15 best O-Guard (you better like this preview, it cast me 8 bucks;-):
15 Rich Ohrnberger Penn State
6-2 1/8 296 5.26 FINAL GRADE> 4.5 (out of ten, top O-Guard was Duke Robinson 7.5)
Strengths: Possesses quickness off the snap and sustains technique. Shows good awareness in pass protection.
Weakness: Lacks all-around athleticism. Is still, lacking flexibility and agility to bend his knees and sink his hips to block with leverage. Is an upright blocker.
Bottom Line: Although Ohrnberger lacks the athleticism NFL teams prefer at guard, he's got enough talent to get by as a solid backup. It's tough to find offensive linemen with his combination of size and strength in the late rounds.
The Ugly: Four of the Pats starting five O-Lineman are free agents after this season. They only have two O-Lineman under contract beyond this season, and once the rookies are signed they will have 5: Matt Light, Dan Koppen, Rich Ohrnberger, Sebastian Vollmer, and George Bussey. If nothing changes in the next year these 5 guys will be your starting O-Line in 2010. Obviously I'm being facetious, but this could get ugly real fast. Don't be surprised if all three rookie O-Linemen makes this team next year. barring injury Vollmer and Ohrnberger will be on the season's opening roster, though it will take a miracle for Bussey to make this team. BB loves Ohrnberger, and word out of Foxboro is that when Rich came in for his interview they spent the day together, just like Deion Branch, went for a walking holding hands while talking about lacrosse;-) BB thinks Ohrnberger is the steal of the Draft. Okay, taking a rookie O-Lineman just because he played Lacrosse on his high school team and you were able to talk lacrosse with him at his interview, is not a good reason to draft a player. And just because you can talk lacrosse with him during the season is not a good reason to keep a player on the roster;-) However, there is a roster spot open for him. BB has to be looking to replace Billy Yates. Every time Yates is in the game for a prolonged period of time the O-Line falls apart. Ohrnberger is not better than Yates, but by the end of Training Camp he could be close with a ton more upside. I my opinion Yates and Ohrnberger will be battling for the final O-Line spot on the roster.
BB Sunday night after Day Two:
"So it kind of felt like we were going to have a little lull in the action there and kind of get caught up and get reorganized a little bit and [we] ended up making a trade with Philadelphia for the two fifth round picks at the top of the fifth round. We traded Ellis [Hobbs] there. I’ll just say that the Ellis Hobbs trade was not really something that we anticipated. It was just one of those things that, based on the way things went and where are team was and what the opportunity was with Philadelphia and so forth, we felt that that was the best thing to do for our team. So we made that transaction, and then moved back up into the fourth round to take Rich Ohrnberger. Rich is a strong, physical inside player at Penn State. He’s played primarily guard, but has also worked at center. I think he has some versatility in there."
BB on WEEI:
you get Vollmer you take about him being that good looking Right Tackle 6-8, does he have to potential to pack on some weight? Talk a little bit about him, and say Ohrnberger, does remind you a little bit of say a Hochstein who you can move around on the interior to keep number 12 on his feet?
"Yes, I'd say to both of those. Ohrnberger played Left Guard at Penn St, and a little bit of Right Guard, and worked at Center, but they had Shipley, they had a good Center who was also a senior who came out in the Draft. So Rich never really played Center at Penn St, but he practiced at Center everyday, and they had kind of a four man rotation. So, you know he worked at all the spots, and you know we worked him out snapping the ball and all that. So, I think he will have the versatility to play all three the spots. And then, I also think he may be competitive for playing time (this season), so we'll just have to see who that all shakes out. But those are some of the similar qualities that Russ has. I don't think they are exactly duplicated, but they are in that ballpark. Vollmer, you know, he is a big-big guy with a big frame. You know, he blocks out the sun. He's a mountain of a man. But a very well conditioned athlete. I think their probably is some room to put on some weight, but I think he's pretty (fully) developed. he's a little bit of an older player, like when we took Nick (Kaczur) a couple years ago. I think he's 25. So, he's not 21. He's pretty fully developed. He has a Right Tackle looking body, but he played Left Tackle at Houston. And also practiced at Left Tackle at the East West game. He played Right Tackle in the East West Game. So it looke like he at least has the chance to have some flexibility at either end of the Offensive Line."
Rich Ohrnberger, Penn State
4th round (123d overall)
Height: 6-2; Weight: 297
40 time: 5.15
Known for his upbeat personality, but doesn't mean he's not tough and tenacious . . . Started 35 straight games for the Nittany Lions, with experience at both guard spots . . . Became the 238th Joe Paterno product to be drafted . . . Fifth-year senior was a third-team All-American and first-team Big Ten . . . Helped anchor an offense that has produced a 1,000-yard rusher in four straight seasons . . . Born Feb. 14, 1986.
Transcript of Ohrnberger Press Conference:
What is your impression of being drafted by the Patriots in the fourth
RO: Right off the bat this is one of the most important days of my life. I couldn’t be happier with the team, the city, [or] the round selection. Everything about it is perfect for me.
Q: What kind of contact did you have with the Patriots and did you work out for Coach Scarnecchia at all in the process?
RO: I had a solid connection with the Patriots throughout the getting to know you process that goes on following the Pro Day that I participated in at Penn State. I had visited Boston and was at Gillette Stadium and met with Coach Scarnecchia, Coach Belichick and a few of the other people there. It was great getting to know those people. The coaches – I enjoyed sitting down and talking [to them]. I never got a chance to work out with Coach Scarnecchia, but we did get a chance to do some work on the board and go over some of their offense stuff.
says in your biography that you are a lighthearted guy and that your natural
gift of humor is something that is appreciated in the huddle. Can you give
us an example?
RO: I couldn’t remember or cite specific examples, but I always like to keep things a little lighter than maybe the situation permitted at the time, because I feel like my teammates and I would play a little bit better when there was a higher level of relaxation, as opposed to getting tense and worked up. It was just something I did to break the tension and it worked. It worked for us. We had a lot of good years together, my offense and I, so it was a lot of fun. Other guys chipped in too, it wasn’t just me, but I seem to get pegged as a comedian.
Q: Did you engage any opponents in chirping at all?
RO: Well, you talk sometimes. I think that’s a part of it too, but with the level of concentration on our offensive line…you have to communicate well with your other teammates on the offensive line and get down what’s all going to happen pre-snap. There wasn’t too much back and forth at that point, but occasionally there was a little talking.
Q: How did you handle the tension level today?
RO: To be honest, I got up about 15 minutes before the draft started this morning and I spent the day with my family, my girlfriend and some of my close friends at the house. Obviously it was a tense day for me, but just like any other time I just tried to keep things light and not worry too much. To be honest, I never expected to get drafted as high as the fourth round, so it came as a very nice surprise when I got the call from Coach Belichick.
Q: There is some talk that you could play some center. Have you worked out at that position at all?
RO: During workouts I did snap the ball. I was the back-up center at my school. We had some depth issues at center this year after an injury, so I took plenty of snaps. Before practice and at practice I took snaps at center, so I’m proficient enough to play the position, but honestly when I get to New England I will do whatever they tell me.
Q: What has it been like to play for Coach [Joe] Paterno and in return how do you feel about the prospects of playing for Coach Belichick?
RO: It was terrific to play for Coach Paterno. He’s obviously a very successful coach. I learned a lot of great lessons from him and this transition going to Coach Belichick…I’ve only really gotten to speak to him twice now, but from what I read about it, what I hear about him, anyone I speak to who knows him better than I do, and on those two occasions speaking to him, he seems like an incredibly intelligent man. I am excited to learn a lot from him.
Q: You mentioned you learned some lessons from Coach Paterno. Can you expand on that?
RO: Sure. As a player at Penn State, he emphasizes character in his players and he wants not only to make great football players, but to build fine young men. Being a part of that program and being a student under him, as a player, I feel like I became a better man as a result.
Q: How familiar were you with this organization before you came into contact with them this year? Seeing that you are a New York guy were you a Jets or Giants fan growing up?
RO: My knowledge of the organization is limited, but only in the fact that I understand it as a casual fan of the team. I actually have never had a favorite team in the NFL growing up. Jets and Giants – I know I am a New York, Long Island guy but I played lacrosse for much of my young life and I spent a lot of time with that. It’s not as big of an impact as having been a New York fan my whole life and now going to New England. It’s terrific going to a historic team like the New England Patriots and playing for a team that has had so much success in recent years. The prospect of being a part of this now is just…I’m speechless.
Q: You mentioned lacrosse. How big of a part of your life is it because that’s something Coach Belichick has a love for?
RO: Actually we spoke about that briefly when we met the first time. I had stopped playing lacrosse my sophomore year of high school because I needed to start putting on some size to make a real run at a [football] career. But I played lacrosse all the way from the third grade to my sophomore year in high school. It was the first sport I ever really took seriously. I thought honestly that I was going to play college lacrosse for a long time, but I fell in love with football and everything changed.
Q: Did you have a favorite team in lacrosse that you hoped to play for in college?
RO: None in particular but it would have definitely been nice [to play at] Hofstra – I live in East Meadow and, Hofsta, I can walk to their stadium. That was definitely a place I would have liked to play. When I was younger I thought about it.
Q: So even as close as you were to the Jets you weren’t a fan?
RO: As close as I was, honestly, I never followed football as a fan until I got into college and started playing college football. I obviously started watching a lot more football in general. I watched a lot of college games and as you passed through the years you start to recognize players names who are playing in the National Football League. I just sort of became a fan of people that I played with and the teams they played for.