9:30 a.m. EST – The media room on the east side of Lucas Oil Stadium is packed with laptops, recorders and bodies, many of whom are making the same jokes about the weather (cold) and the time (early, especially for those coming from the West coast). We’re still awaiting the arrival of players, which will begin to trickle toward the three podiums in the next few hours.
10:42 a.m. EST – Former Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera: The Panthers will consider taking a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, but their pool of potential selections includes “seven to 10″ at this point. He reiterated the importance of finding or developing a franchise quarterback after having Philip Rivers in San Diego.
11:25 a.m. EST — Director of College Scouting John Spanos talks in the hall after morning weigh-ins for arriving players. Spanos says the Chargers value the medical exams and 1-on-1 interviews most in the Combine process.
11:42 a.m. EST – Oklahoma State kicker Dan Bailey is the first player to enter the media room. Bailey won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker in 2010, making 27-of-31 field goals, but didn’t even have a scholarship until his junior season.
12:39 p.m. EST – Fresno State quarterback Ryan Colburn talked about former teammates and current Chargers Ryan Mathews and Seyi Ajirotutu. “I played a lot of ball with those guys,” he said.
Mathews and Ajirotutu attended Colburn’s wedding five weeks ago.
“I talked to Seyi a few days ago (about the Combine) and he just told me to be myself. I have nothing to hide. Me as a person is my best attribute and I’m here to showcase that.”
1:01 p.m. EST — Conference pride remains a big deal to many of these players. Just ask Georgia OL Clint Boling: “Obviously I’d like to think the SEC is the best conference. We won four national championships (during my career).”
1:27 p.m. EST – Houston OL Isaiah Thompson on the Bod Pod, a clostrophobic egg-shaped structure that measures body fat: “I’m an offensive lineman, so probably all of us failed.”
Said Thompson of the entire medical process, which included urine samples and giving blood: “I was at the hospital so long yesterday I thought they were going to give me a room and a bed.”
1:33 p.m. EST – South Carolina OL Garrett Chisolm lost both of his parents to cancer. He played one season at Pikeville (Ky.) College in 2006 and missed football in ’07 and ’08. Senior day with the Gamecocks was emotional for him; he carried a framed photograph of his parents onto the field.
He also got emotional when he learned of the Combine invite: “I was ecstatic. It was an unreal feeling that I’d actually be at the NFL Combine with some of the best athletes in the world.”
2:21 p.m. EST – Florida OT Marcus Gilbert’s father was a part of President Obama’s Secret Service detail for two years. Gilbert promises Obama hasn’t given him any footwork tips ahead of the Combine.
“I think I can take care of that just fine. What did he roll up, his ankle or something like that?” Gilbert said. “I could probably teach him a couple of things.”
2:52 p.m. EST – USC TE Jordan Cameron originally attended BYU for basketball. Unlike Chargers TE Antonio Gates, though, he did play football in college, beginning as a reserve wide receiver.
Cameron does consider himself an athletic receiving tight end but shied away from any comparison to a few NFL players with basketball backgrounds.
“Everybody’s unique. Everybody’s different. I’ll pave my own way,” Cameron said.
3:24 p.m. EST – Villanova OL Ben Ijalana would add to the list of NFL linemen with wrestling backgrounds. Chargrers DT Antonio Garay, likely the most successful of the bunch, was an All-American at Boston College.
“To this day, wrestling is the hardest physical activity I’ve done,” Ijalana said.
4:08 p.m. EST – D.J. Williams did not want to reveal his goal for the 40-yard dash, so he appeased reporters by saying he’d like to run a 4.1. Chris Johnson’s electronically-timed record is 4.24 seconds.
Williams, who caught 149 passes for more than 1,800 yards, said Bobby Petrino got onto him good after his sophomore year about his lack of blocking, which he made a focus during his final two seasons.
“My background pretty much was like sandpaper. It was really rough. But after that sandpaper wore out, me and my family came out smooth,” Williams said.
5:15 p.m. EST – Baylor OL Danny Watkins grew up a hardcore Vancouver Canucks fan that loved hockey and rugby. He became a firefighter at 17 years old in British Columbia, which he remained for four years.
Watkins went to California to advance his firefighting career and was convinced to play football for Butte Community College, where Packers QB Aaron Rodgers played at one time.
Watkins is also 26 years old.
“I don’t have arthritis,” Watkins joked.
5:46 p.m. EST – That’s it for the day in Indianapolis. I’ll be here tomorrow to talk with quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.
Stay true and keep pounding,
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