When you make the jump from Division II to the NFL, there are a lot of differences. Corey Ballentine will have to face one of them on Thursday night against the Jets.
The rookie cornerback from Washburn University said he’s never played in front of a crowd as large as the one expected at MetLife Stadium. Even accounting for the typical percentage of no-shows that normally blow off these preseason contests, the audience figures to dwarf what Ballentine said was probably the biggest crowd he’s ever played in front of: about 15,000.
“Maybe,” he said. “That might be pushing it.”
Ballentine’s previous home stadium at Washburn held 7,200. MetLife holds 82,500.
“I’ve never played in front of that many people, been in that big of a stadium,” Ballentine said. “This is something I’ve always wanted to do since I was younger, and it’s just crazy that it’s here… I’m just going to try to block out the noise and not let it get to me. Then also enjoy the moment at the same time.”
Preseason games aren’t just for assessing players. They also can be helpful in assessing rules. Pat Shurmur said he plans to do that as much as possible in these next four preseason contests, especially the new guidelines for challenging calls on the field like pass interference.
“I’d like to see how they’re going to do it,” Shurmur said.
This is the first year coaches will be able to challenge pass interference calls or non-calls, on both the offense and the defense. Like all other challenges, any play inside the final two minutes of either half can only be reviewed by a booth challenge.
“This is going to be talked about a great deal,” Shurmur said. “It’s going to have an effect on some games, so I think in the preseason, it makes sense for all of us to, every once in a while, throw one just to see what the response is.”
O'Hagan "fired up" for first NFL game
James O’Hagan has waited his whole life to run through a tunnel and onto an NFL field, which he will do on Thursday night. Then, after that, he’ll have to wait again.
The rookie center from Seaford probably won’t play until the second half against the Jets when the rest of the third-stringers see their action. That’ll mean an hour and a half or so between the initial adrenaline rush of introductions and his first snap. O’Hagan said he’s thought about that downtime.
“I’m gonna be so fired up,” he said of the initial entrance and then pause. “But I’ve got plenty of fire in me.”