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Transcript: New Orleans Saints offensive lineman Erik McCoy training camp interview - Monday, Aug. 24

McCoy spoke with media about versatility at Saints Training Camp 2020

New Orleans Saints guard/center Erik McCoy
Training Camp Video Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, August 24, 2020

How's the switch, you know, going from, you know from center to right guard, back and forth. How's that been? How's that process been for you?
"I would say it has been pretty good. There is a lot of learning that's been going into it. Just a different technique and stuff that I have from guard to center. But overall, I'd say it's going well, not much has changed playbook wise. So that's come pretty easy."

Being out at practice, like when Taysom's (Hill) at quarterback, it sounds like Drew (Brees) when he's doing the cadence like, almost exactly. How important is it for you guys on the line for that to sound like, almost the same and discernible?
"I would say it's extremely important. Especially in this offense, just because we're all very tuned in. All five of us across the line are tuned into the snap count. We know when the ball is going to be snapped and it gives us good timing and a good jump on the defensive line."

And how much is, I don't know if you've, yeah you've been with Jameis Winston, how close is he to be on the same page with the other guys?
"He's definitely getting there. The first few days were a little rough. But now he's kind of, he's really grabbed on to it and grasped it. And I would say he's right there with everybody else now."

And when you say especially for this offense, why, especially for this offense is it a little bit more important?
"I would say just because all five of us are, like really tuned in to the snap count. And we're really, really, really focused on getting a jump on the defensive line, because we view that as our biggest advantage over them."

Back to Cesar Ruiz, regardless of where either one of you are, how is your chemistry coming along with the two of you side by side?
"Yeah, it's coming along well. Me at center, him at guard, me at guard, him at center. The communication is there. And it's just been a big emphasis between the two of us being young players, making sure that we're on the same page."

How much did it help that the two of you had talked even before you got into camp, before he even got drafted?
"I would say it was helpful because, you know, we kind of got a feel for each other, each other's personalities. That's the type of guy you're really playing next to whichever position it was going to be. It was really helpful."

Following up on that, you know, what, when he reached out to you before, the draft would kind of, you know, prompted you to respond and, you know, what was that conversation like?
"I feel like anytime there's a young college kid that's just looking for guidance, whether that's combine, going into pro day, whether it's after they get drafted…I feel like I'm not a veteran yet, but as a guy that's been in the league for a year, and having those experiences, it's my obligation, it's my duty to respond to him."

What was that conversation like and what was some of the advice you kind of passed on to him?
"It was really short, really sweet, really simple. But he was just asking about the combine stuff and I just told him that it was going to be a long week, but he had to grind through it because, he had the talent, the skills, the knowledge. But mentally he just had to be there."

Working side by side with him, both of you guys working at center and right guard, have you guys been able to bounce, kind of ideas and kind of help each other learn the different positions?
"Yeah, of course. I've been helping him at center more, just because yesterday was his first day actually getting live in-practice reps at it. Just helping him along with some of the calls and all that because since he's been here, he's kind of been focusing on guard more because that's a position that he didn't know as well. So just kind of help him along with the calls, the audis (audibles) stuff like that."

Do you think maybe guard might be more suited to you just because of the way you could use your athleticism a little bit, you think there's any truth to that?
"You know, I'm still trying to figure that out myself. I wish I could give you a better answer than that. I do appreciate the compliment on the athleticism, though. But I'm still trying to figure it out myself, see how I can incorporate my game into playing guard."

What's it like being in the two minute drill with Drew Brees like you were today?
"It's very fast. It's very fast. It's very intense. And pretty much you just want to protect them at all costs, because that's, I mean, he's leading the charge. He's taking charge of the whole thing. He's our leader out there, you can't let him get touched in the two minute drill."

The connection between him and Michael Thomas. I mean, I know you're out there taking care of your responsibility. But do you also come to the sideline after that and say, this is why that connection has been so successful, because he's going against Marshon Lattimore?
"When you have the best receiver and best quarterback in the league, that connection is going to be there. They work on it day in and day out to perfect that connection. And it's really amazing to see their work ethic when it comes to that."

When Jameis Winston's name came up, you had a big smile on your face. I'm just curious to see what you're seeing out of Jameis now that you guys are in the same huddle?
"Man. Jameis is one of the funniest guys in the locker room. He brings great chemistry, great charisma to the locker room. He's just a fun guy to have around. That's why the smile came up."

As a center for you or Cesar Ruiz, when one of you play a road game with no fans, how different is that going to be for you?
"I think it'll be a lot easier just getting the calls out and hearing Drew, all of that. I think it'll be a big advantage for us this year."

Do you have a preference between guard or center? Seems like you're more comfortable at center, but do you care where you end up at?
"At the end of the day, I consider myself a team first guy. And just whatever is going to put us in the best position for this team to win, I'm cool with. I don't have a preference."

So I have to follow up on Jameis Winston because Jared Cook was cracking up when he was talking about Winston in the huddle the other day. Was there something he said when he got to the huddle the first time or something everyone said to him that has everyone laughing about?
"No, it's just when he comes into the huddle, he comes in there with his eyes really wide and he's just looking around at everybody, with the hugest smile on his face. And it just, it makes everyone in the huddle laugh every time."

I know coaches like to create competition in training camp. Do you see yourself in a competition for center or do you not look at it that way?
"Not really. I do not consider it a competition. I consider myself one of the best five guys that can be on the line any point, any time. But just center competition, no sir, not really."

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