Colts Rookie Middle Linebacker Pat Angerer Has Experience Overcoming Adversity
INDIANAPOLIS – The list was longer than Pat Angerer might have liked.
Not that Angerer, a middle linebacker from the University of Iowa, didn't expect to have something of a list, and not that he's not confident he can get that list shorter in a hurry.
But this past weekend, Angerer said he made mistakes at the Colts' 2010 rookie mini-camp.
Many, many mistakes.
"I messed up a lot – a lot of stuff," said Angerer, a second-round selection by the Colts in the 2010 NFL Draft and one of multiple rookies who will be profiled on Colts.com in the coming weeks.
"Just lining up wrong, doing the wrong things, making the wrong calls. It will come. The first day, you go into things and don't really know."
Angerer (6-feet-0, 235 pounds), the No. 63 overall selection in the April 22-24 NFL Draft, has experience persevering in difficult situations. Some pretty high-profile experience.
That came early in his career at Iowa.
Considered undersized by some, Angerer early in his Iowa career struggled with injuries. He had shoulder, groin and hamstring issues severe enough that he missed eight of 12 games as a sophomore, and was surpassed on the depth chart by freshman Jacody Coleman.
How frustrating was the season?
Enough so that Angerer has told reers since that he considered quitting football. The reason he didn't, he has said, was because he didn't "think I had it in me to go up to (Iowa Head Coach Kirk) Ferentz's office and tell him."
Teammates and coaches at Iowa have said what happened next was a transformation.
"Pat finally figured it out, and he'll be the first to tell you this," former Iowa linebacker A.J. Edds, a fourth-round 2010 NFL Draft selection by Miami, told the Iowa City Press-Citizen. "Basically, after spring ball (in 2008), Pat kind of saw his college career going by the wayside if he didn't figure out what to do to be on the field and be successful and make every snap and rep count. Pat finally made some changes that he needed to make as far as what he was doing and the way he was approaching football, and once he made those changes it was a drastic improvement. . . .
"He kind of quit looking around at other people and started looking at himself and said, 'What do I need to do?' He did some things to right the ship for himself."
Angerer agreed with the assessment.
"I had all of those injuries and I was just like you know what, 'Man, I'm only going to play college football one time,' ' Angerer told Hawkeye Nation. "I get one shot at this. I might as well do everything I can in order to play. I literally isolated myself from a lot of things and really just focused on good nutrition, just getting my rest, just living really, really simple. I really focused on improving every day, improving in something."
The focus produced improvement. Big-time improvement.
As a junior, Angerer regained his starting position, registering a team-high 107 tackles and five interceptions in a season Ferentz told the Press-Citizen was "as good of a season as any linebacker we've had."
As a senior, Angerer was named first-team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America, CollegeFootballNews.com and Phil Steele's College Football, and was named second-team All-America by the Associated Press.
He also served as team captain, and registered 145 tackles, fifth-best in Iowa history.
"Angerer is a much, much better athlete than what people might think," Iowa defensive coordinator
Norm Parker told the Press-Citizen. "He's got great ball skills, he's a good athlete, he's just not a big guy. He doesn't walk in the room and people go, 'Wow, look at that guy.' But when you start playing and you put it on film and you judge production, Pat Angerer is a good middle linebacker."
While Angerer said he made mistakes at rookie camp this past weekend, Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell and President Bill Polian each have said the three-day event is about just that, educating rookies and allowing time to make mistakes before organized team activities begin in mid-May.
Angerer and the rest of the Colts' eight draft selections and 16 rookie free agents may return to Indianapolis May 16 to begin working out with the team, but Angerer said the rookie camp was enough to see he had been drafted by a solid organization.
"If I could choose, I would have come here," he said. "It's a great organization from bottom to the top. A lot of winners. . . . Everybody here's pretty cool. The coaches are great."
And Angerer said although mini-camp was a learning experience, he said there were concepts he grasped.
"Most of the coverages are kind of the same concept," he said. "The biggest difference is knowing the different terms to use. Everybody kind of uses different terms."
And whatever the terminology, and however much there was to learn, Angerer said without question it was good to be playing football again after months of pre-draft workouts and drills.
"It feels like it's been forever since I've played football, but it's nice to not have to worry about running a 40," he said. "It was exciting to go out there and get a little bit of the rust off."
That process will continue in a little more than two weeks, when the rookies return and OTAs begin, and Angerer said he plans to continue the process of eliminating mistakes and learning where he might fit in the Colts' defense.
"I want to do whatever they want me to do," Angerer said. "You can only get better from that. Whatever happens, happens. I have a lot of work to do. I've got to get a lot better fast."