2003 NFL Draft 2003 NFL Draft

The Faine scrutiny

Fighting Irish center takes on interviews, exams in Indy

Posted: Thursday February 20, 2003 7:45 PM

This is the second in a series as follows Notre Dame center Jeff Faine in the weeks leading up to the 2003 NFL Draft in April.

By David Clark,

Since Jeff Faine arrived Tuesday afternoon in Indianapolis, there hasn't exactly been time for Circle City sightseeing.

His itinerary at the NFL Scouting Combine has been dominated by interviews and medical exams.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

"The schedule is pretty demanding," Faine admits. "You find out your [daily] schedule every morning, but you [already] have an idea of what you're going to do."

He also acknowledges that a few grueling days could pay dividends.

Faine had four 15-minute interviews scheduled for Wednesday night. The previous night he had six meetings accompanied with several exams.

"I think [the interviews] have gone pretty well."

And one other thing ...
Jeff was asked who had the biggest influence on his development as a center. His response:

"I think it's been a mix of both Coach [Dave] Borbely and Coach [John] McDonell. I picked up different things from both of them, different perspectives [based on] their differing philosophies. Most of the technical stuff I learned from Coach Borbely. And I really improved upon that knowledge with Coach McDonell."

(Borbely coached Notre Dame's offensive line in 1998 and 1999 and just guards and centers the following two seasons. McDonell came with Tyrone Willingham from Stanford, taking over when Borbely left for Colorado last February.) 

Staying busy is a good sign at this year's combine. One of just 11 centers in attendance, Faine doesn't mind going from one appointment to the next. For the first time, teams are required to submit a list of players they wish to interview, and they're limited to 60 player interviews.

"I haven't been really surprised. It's a little different for each [team]. In the Minnesota interview, I drew up some plays. It was about football knowledge, to see how much I really knew."

One interview -- with the Cleveland Browns -- stood out in Faine's mind.

"They had a psychologist who was pretty much just drilling [me]. That's kind of the feel I got ... it was really intense."

And the medical exams?

"They're very thorough. You've got four or five doctors yanking on each limb ... each and every way."

Faine isn't taking part in the combine's workout events, instead opting (as many draft prospects do) to wait until Notre Dame's Pro Day, where, as he puts it, "the coaches and scouts basically do the combine workout at your school."

Dozens of schools hold post-combine Pro Days, allowing athletes to endure the notoriously rigorous workouts in familiar surroundings.

Faine has run into a couple of teammates at the combine. He joins his roommate, OT Brennan Curtin, as well as OG Sean Mahan, CB Shane Walton, FB Tom Lopienski, S Gerome Sapp and WR Arnaz Battle in representing N.D. in Indy.

In addition, Faine notes that security is tight at the RCA Dome.

"You have to take your ID everywhere. ... You wear sweatshirts with your name and a number on the back. They're pretty strict about security."

When Faine leaves town Friday, he hopes to have left a favorable impression. That impression is already being formed, as teams receive printed results of exams and interviews within hours of completion.

Related information
Early entrants for the 2003 NFL Draft
Notre Dame C Jeff Faine: Draft diary
NFL hoping to avert conflicts with more regimented combine
Users' Mock Drafts: Feb. 18
Combine Notebook: Overtime debate rages on
Pauline: Let the infamous combine begin
Visit Video Plus for the latest audio and video