It's only been three days of OTAs, three days of practice, but in those three days Steelers' first-round pick Bud Dupree definitely senses a difference.
"The first day was kind of fast for me and the rest of the rookies, but I feel like we are adjusting well and learning the plays on the go," said Dupree. "I think I am adjusting fast to the playbook. I know a lot of it right now, but I want to keep on learning."
Dupree and his fellow rookies took part in the team's rookie minicamp earlier in May, but now things have changed considerably. Instead of learning with each other, they now have to keep up with the pace that is set by the veterans taking part in OTAs.
"All the vets already know where they are going, know their assignments already," said Dupree. "They have been through a lot of game experience so they know what to expect. Me and the rest of the rookies are just going on what we see right now. Once we keep having practices and keep getting used to the NFL life and the NFL game speed, I think we will adjust well."
He is keeping a close eye on the veterans at outside linebacker, picking up tips, taking their advice and using everything he sees to his advantage as he is adjusting to a new defense.
"Right now just the small things," said Dupree. "All the fundamental things you need to learn playing football and learning the plays more precise so you don't have to think about it while you are on the field. Just small things like that.
"What I realize is this is a business out here. Everyone is out here trying to get better, everyone is out here for a purpose and that is to win games and go to a championship. Watching guys like Deebo (James Harrison) and Jarvis (Jones) and (Arthur) Moats. All the older guys in the outside linebacker room and on the defensive line as well. It's a great experience to see how they practice, handle themselves, and me follow them."
The other person he is learning from is outside linebackers coach Joey Porter. Porter played the position, understands what Dupree is going through, and can give him tips that only someone who played at that level can.
"Coach Joey is a great guy. He helps us a lot," said Dupree. "He knows what it takes to be great on the field. He knows the essence of playing football. He knows when we mess up, why we messed up because he did before too. Everything we did, he already has done. That's why he can relate to us so well."
The Steelers won't have their next OTA practice until Tuesday, but that doesn't mean Dupree won't be staying on top of things.
"I am definitely going to get in the playbook and make sure I know it even better than I know it now," said Dupree. "If I get in the playbook, know the plays and get my body taken care of, I know I will be good."