Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Combine Heating Up

The first group of players got a wake-up call at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, as the NFL Scouting Combine rolled into action in chilly Indianapolis

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Combine officials found a way for LSU QB Matt Mauck to work out and still make it to his own wedding on time

(by Gil Brandt, Special to NFL.com)

(Feb. 18, 2004) -- When we arrived in Indianapolis on Tuesday night for the 2004 NFL Combine, the temperature was 37 degrees. By this weekend, it's expected to reach the mid-50s. Yes, the combine is heating up.

All kidding aside, it's big news compared to last year's combine, when the thermometer was approaching zero and snow ruled the week.

Among the other signs that things are heating up around here: The restaurants all along Illinois Avenue -- St. Elmo's, Ruth's Chris and the rest -- are getting very busy. Between now and the end of the weekend, they will be packed every night with NFL coaches and executives.

The draft prospects who will be streaming in will be busy taking in their first official involvement with the NFL. It all starts Wednesday night, when the first group of players -- offensive linemen and some running backs -- will gather for dinner and orientation. The leader of Group 1, by the way, is former Raiders lineman and current Raiders scout Mickey Marvin. Thursday for these players begins with a 6:30 a.m. wake-up call, and the day will probably end somewhere around 11 at night.

In between, there will be weigh-ins, physical exams, workouts and interviews with individual teams.

FYI: The Dallas Cowboys are a team in need of help at running back. Coincidentally, the first player with whom they are scheduled to meet this week is Ohio State's Maurice Clarett.

Of course, we'll have news from the combine throughout the week, so be sure to check out NFL.com frequently -- and check out our coverage on the NFL Network. In the meantime, here are a few more notes to keep you up to date on what's happening here:

  • The first player to arrive in Indianapolis this week? Ohio State center Alex Stepanovich. * While most quarterbacks will be working out on Saturday, LSU's Matt Mauck had his workout moved up to Friday. He could have done it Saturday, but that would have interfered with his wedding. * The agent for defensive end Kenechi Udeze called to let us know that the USC star will be working out, and we should expect to see him run a 4.6 40-yard dash. * The father of a prominent ACC player called to thank us for listing his son among our top-ranked offensive prospects. He added that his son, an offensive lineman, will check in this week at 315 pounds, with 10 percent body fat. * Super-agent Drew Rosenhaus called to let us know that we can find him this week down in Room 110 -- the media room at the hotel. Rosenhaus is usually very helpful in getting all his players to run at the combine. * All the combine participants can look forward to receiving "swag" from all the NFL teams, but the big attraction will be the Reebok room. In addition to receiving a bag of stuff from Reebok, players can have a shoe fitting -- trying on an assortment of shoes to see which they like best.
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