Doug Kramer went through five training camps during his career at the University of Illinois. He thought that prepared him for what was to come with the Chicago Bears. The 6th round center was in for a rude awakening. Things might’ve been if Matt Nagy were still in charge. His training camps weren’t known for being anything grueling. The rookie immediately learned that Matt Eberflus is a very different animal.
The new Bears head coach stated that when he took over, they would need their track shoes. His demands were simple. He wanted a fast, physical, and well-conditioned football team. Eberflus knew this approach wouldn’t be for everybody. Some guys weren’t going to like the high demands. Kramer thought he knew what the coach meant. Then last weekend, the rookie admitted in his diary entry for Chicagobears.com that Eberflus wasn’t exaggerating. He made a vow to everybody in the locker room.
“It’s no surprise the last few practices this week have been the hardest yet. Coach Eberflus set a certain standard for the intensity of practices, and he’s followed through. But competing at a game-like speed in practice is crucial in order to be prepared for the upcoming preseason game and the regular season. Eberflus said we’re going to be the hardest working team on the planet, and you could feel that playing out during Friday and Saturday’s practices.
Those are the days I spent an extra few minutes in the cold tub. Then, you must be extremely mindful of hydrating and fueling your body after practice and making sure you get eight hours of sleep.”
Doug Kramer doesn’t sound intimidated, which is vital.
The rookie is living a childhood dream. He grew up a Bears fan. Getting drafted by them was his greatest hope. Now that he is there, he isn’t going to let hard work stand in his way. Kramer didn’t get to the NFL by being the most talented player. Everybody called him undersized and underpowered for an NFL center. Yet through a tenacious work ethic, he excelled enough to get drafted anyway.
Eberflus and the coaching staff are giving him plenty of opportunities to prove himself too. He’s rotated with Sam Mustipher in the first-team offensive line. The preseason approaches. Starter Lucas Patrick is still out with a hand injury. That means Doug Kramer will see plenty of action. If he can carry that intensity Eberflus wants over to the game, the Bears may soon trust him with a starting job down the line.