The Super Bowl Media Center, for better and worse, is as crazy as advertised.
It's to the point that a fellow can't get a few minutes to speak with a future first-rounder in the NFL Draft without having to pry him away from All-Pro linebacker DeMarcus Ware.
Even then, it's tough to escape the background noise of the Black Eyed Peas' press conference or the sound of shuffling feet headed to an address from NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith.
In other words, it's awesome.
Persistent and determined as ever, Bleacher Report's Jack Harver hung out in the Gatorade Performance Lab on Thursday, against a backdrop of high-tech performance testing equipment and G Series beverages, until Cameron Heyward showed up right on time and ready to talk.
Whether the 6'5" former Ohio State star was smiling about his interview session with Ware, the glimpse he'd just gotten of the Black Eyed Peas or the thought of the 5'10" writer in front of him struggling through Gatorade's testing is anyone's guess. In any case, he was plenty friendly and talkative.
Jack Harver: This Sunday, we'll see two defensive coordinators who use aggressive 3-4 schemes. As one of this draft's top ends, can you picture yourself playing for [Green Bay's Dom] Capers or [Pittsburgh's Dick] LeBeau?
Cameron Heyward: Oh, I can definitely picture myself playing for either. Dick LeBeau being an O-State guy, he's a legend whenever he comes around, and Dom Capers as well—they both get the best out of their players. I love the schemes they run, and I'd love to be a part of it.
JH: How do you see yourself fitting into that kind of defense?
CH: I know they would put me at a five-technique. I'd do some stunts and be able to hold up against the run. I've just got to make sure I'm in the best condition of my life and make sure I'm strong enough.
JH: You mean Ziggy Hood, Brett Kiesel-type shape?
CH: Yeah, definitely.
JH: How's your elbow?
CH: You know, it's getting better. I had surgery about two-and-a-half weeks ago, and I can definitely say my arm is feeling a lot better. I already have more motion than after the game, but it's going to take a lot of work.
I'm already ahead of the healing curve—they want me to chill out for a while because I'm going too fast. You don't want to overwhelm it [or] push it too fast that it kills the tendon.
I tore some ligaments in the Arkansas game; I had some cartilage pieces floating around in my elbow. But I'm healing up pretty good now.
JH: Do you think it'll affect your training with Gatorade?
CH: No, I think I'm working [more] on my speed and using the right hand a lot more. Playing at Ohio State, I got to put both hands down, so it's not like it's completely foreign language to me.
But I'm constantly getting better; I'm getting put through rigorous workouts and they're pushing me. That's the way I want it. By the end of this experience, I hope to be in tip-top shape.
JH: So that's your top physical goal—speed? Most of the draftniks are hinting that you might need to bulk up a little bit to hang at the next level.
CH: Oh yeah, I'll bulk up. I promise you that. When I'm able to bench and get back in the weight room, I'll get after it as much as I can.
JH: Where [weight-wise] are you these days—285 [pounds]? 290?
CH: Shoot, I'm more than that. I'm about 300 right now—304.
JH: Trying to stick around there?
CH: Yeah. I'm looking to lose a little weight and gain some muscle—or if I can gain weight and gain muscle, I'll take both.
JH: Most college teams probably have some form of nutrition and training plan, but how many players do you think really go all-in on it?
CH: You know, it's different with every program. It all depends on the player, as well. I think you can't try to put a statistic on it.
It all depends on the player and how dedicated he is. If he wants to be the best, he's going to dedicate [himself] to having the right nutrition and keeping his body in tip-top shape.
JH: Now, about all this testing equipment around us.
JH: You went through all of it earlier today, so I want to know what I'm in for...
Tomorrow, check back for part two of the interview with Cameron Heyward, covering his preliminary testing at the Gatorade Performance Lab in Dallas and his insight into Ohio State's strength and conditioning facilities and training.
As an added bonus, you'll hear (and see) how Jack suffered through the same tests.
Heyward's got a much tougher road, but both player and writer have "Everything to Prove" in the months leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft in April.