You’re Nate Swift. You just completed a stellar career at the University of Nebraska, a four-year stretch in which you set a school record with 166 receptions for 2,476 yards and also totaled 22 touchdowns in 51 games played.
So naturally, as a college free agent, you join the Denver Broncos – an NFL team in close proximity to the Cornhusker State – and you feel right at home in Big 12 Country, right?
“I have noticed a couple of people out here, but there are definitely more Colorado fans than Nebraska fans here that I’ve noticed so far,” Swift said. “CU fans for sure.”
Still, it wouldn’t be an odd occurrence to see a number of Nebraska fans take the three-hour drive down I-76 from the Nebraska border to Denver this month and take in a handful of the club’s training camp practices. Plus, whenever Swift needs his red and white fix, he can converse with former Nebraska star Correll Buckhalter. Swift got to know Buckhalter during the team’s offseason workouts, and they were able to reminisce about their experiences playing in the renowned program.
“He was in a little bit of a different era than I was,” Swift said of Buckhalter. “They were winning national championships all the time but, you know, it’s the same. We talked about how the program is changing back now and how the tradition is coming back.”
Like his rookie counterparts, Swift isn’t exactly sure what to expect when training camp officially begins and the team takes to full pads. But he has an idea.
“It’s going to be a lot different in training camp, I’ve heard,” Swift said. “A lot faster, a lot more going in, a lot quicker pace. It’s going to be a little tough, but from the first minicamp until now, I think I’ve got most of the basics down.”
During the three days of practice this week, Swift and fellow first-year wideout Kenny McKinley have spent a great deal of time together on the field working with wide receivers coach Adam Gase and the offensive staff. Swift said the coaching staff is still throwing new wrinkles at the first-year players each day, but having McKinley go through the process with him has been comforting.
“It’s nice to have other guys that are trying to learn at the same time you are,” Swift said. “It’s fun to get out there again and kind of redo some of the stuff we learned over the summer in passing camp. Just to be out here with the rookies is nice, too — to start off before all the vets come and get a little bit of a step ahead.”
– Zach Eisendrath, DenverBroncos.com