Blog special: Vince Anderson
Not sure if or when this little feature on rookie S Vince Anderson will make the paper, but I wrote it so you might as well read it:
Albany -- Had Vince Anderson come to the Giants from Nicholls State, he’d have been asked the inevitable questions about making the jump from a FCS (formerly Division I-AA) school to the NFL.
But Anderson did not arrive in training camp in Albany out of Nicholls State. No, comes from a school so far down the food chain that Nichols State was considered the big time.
Anderson played for three years at Webber International, a tiny school in central Florida that plays in the NAIA. It’s not even an NCAA school. He wound up there after he was suspended from Nichols State in an academic fraud scandal – he maintains he and the other students suspended were innocent victims of coaches at the school – and needed a place to play football.
How small is Webber International? Well, it’s only had a football team for six years. Anderson is the first player from the school to play in an NFL training camp. And they had no secondary coach to guide Anderson and his defensive backfield teammates.
“It was me basically coaching my teammates at my position, trying to show them what I had learned at Division I-AA at Nicholls State,” Anderson said. He was sharing his experiences from "The Show."
The Giants, unlike Webber International, have plenty of assistant coaches. And Anderson, an undrafted rookie free agent, is trying to catch their eye. He made a splash on Tuesday afternoon when he intercepted two passes thrown by fellow rookie Rhett Bomar and broke up another pass thrown from David Carr to Hakeem Nicks.
That’s former No. 1 overall draft pick David Carr throwing to the Giants’ most recent first-round draft pick Hakeem Nicks. And Lawrence was holding his own.
“I always felt like I could play with any competition,” he said.
The biggest struggle for him so far has been learning the playbook, and not because he’s a rookie. He played cornerback in the minicamps this spring and spent the summer immersed in the playbook, memorizing the details of that position. But when the 6-2, 205-pounder showed up in Albany last weekend, he had a surprise waiting for him. The Giants moved him to safety.
Anderson accepted the move – he had been playing both corner and safety since high school – but now he’s trying to keep up with the nuances of a position for which he was not preparing.
“I’m just happy for the opportunity,” he said. “It’s humbled me, to tell you the truth. I feel like anything is possible since I made it this far.”
Anderson’s two interceptions went a long way in bolstering his confidence.
“I was happy to see the ball coming my way so I could make plays,” he said. “I know I have a lot to prove coming in as a free agent. To see the ball coming my way I was excited.”
He’s still got a lot of questions to answer on the field before he can even think about making the team. He’s also got a lot of questions to answer off of it. Teammates are constantly asking him about Webber International is. Heck, some ask what it is. Anderson smiles and tells them about the tiny school in central Florida that is trying to build a sports program.
And when the time comes, as it does for all rookies, for Anderson to stand up and sing his alma mater’s fight song, well, he’s not even sure if there is one at Webber International.
“I’m going to have to think of something off the top of my head when they call me up,” he said.