Rookie offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga knows the speed and intensity in practice will be turned up a notch later this month when the entire team begins OTAs, but for now, his focus is on learning as much about Green Bay's offensive system as he can.
By early Saturday afternoon, Green Bay's first-round pick and the rest of the participants in the team's rookie orientation camp had completed two of the three practices they will have this weekend.
"It was good to actually get out there and start playing a little football," Bulaga said. "Obviously there is a lot of work that needs to get done, but it was good to get out there and start playing and running around a little bit.
"I think anytime you go to a new system, especially the NFL, you're going to get a whole different brand of player. Everything is going to be a lot faster, a lot quicker. The new terminology for the scheme is all different, so there is a lot you need to adjust to."
Bulaga said picking up that terminology in the Packers' playbook will be one of the biggest challenges he will face, comparing it to learning the offense at the University of Iowa coming from Marian Catholic High in Woodstock, Ill. He added that having done some zone blocking at Iowa should help the transition.
"The zone scheme, everything is very similar, but it's the fact of the terminology," Bulaga said. "When you've got the same type of system and different terminology, you've got to learn the terminology to understand the offense. There is a lot of carryover, but picking up on all of the lingo, all of the checks, all of that kind of stuff, everything is different.
"There are similarities to it. Obviously this is the NFL, so there are going to be different formations and motions, but from the zone concept, it is similar."
While Bulaga has spent pretty much all of his time so far this weekend in practice or meetings or back at the hotel, he did get a chance to get a look at the field he will be playing on this fall.
On Thursday night, Bulaga and the rest of the orientation-camp members enjoyed a dinner in one of the end-zone suites overlooking Lambeau Field. The players were also addressed by Head Coach Mike McCarthy, President/CEO Mark Murphy, and VP of Football Administration/Player Finance Russ Ball, and watched a highlight video.
"It was awesome because the video they show you, it's one of the coolest videos I have seen," Bulaga said. "Then just to get the overview of Lambeau Field from the press box, it looks awesome. I can't even imagine it on game day. I'm sure the place is just lit up."
Green Bay's rookie orientation wraps up Sunday, with the rookie players scheduled to return on May 16. Until then, Bulaga will be back at his parents' home in Crystal Lake, Ill., where he said he will try to work out with some former high school teammates that play Division I football.
"I'll be working out, kind of relaxing with the family, studying playbooks, and doing all of that kind of stuff to try and be prepared when I get back here," Bulaga said. "Obviously there isn't an offensive line coach I can work with one-on-one out in Illinois, but I'll try my best to get with somebody."
Bulaga called the weekend a great opportunity to "get his feet wet," knowing that the next time he is on the practice field he will be joined by Green Bay's veteran players.
"I'm just looking forward to learning more," Bulaga said. "That's the one thing I am looking forward to is gaining more knowledge about the offense, kind of mixing in with the veterans, trying to learn from those guys and take in any advice they have to tell me. It's all just a big learning experience these first couple of months."