MOBILE, Ala. - The half-hour or so following a Senior Bowl practice might be the only time reporters witness teams asking questions of draft prospects. There are private meetings in the evenings, and more private meetings at the NFL Scouting Combine, and each team can bring 30 potential draftees into its facilities for further behind-closed-doors discussion, but at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, when practice is over, scouts circulate on the field amid reporters, agents and players' family members in an informal mix that seems like something from the NFL of a half-century ago.

Some of the questions definitely aren't from a half-century ago, though. Several encounters witnessed this week had to do with whether the player had any children, and, if so, whether he lived with their mother. If not, how was their relationship? Cordial?

Clemson inside linebacker Stephone Anthony, a chiseled 6-2, 245, was asked by representatives from several teams how often he sees his year-old daughter, how involved he is in her life. Anthony seemed unsurprised, and repeatedly attested to a strong bond with his daughter and a smooth, uncontentious relationship with her mother, even though they are no longer together.

"I knew that question was coming. Background check," Anthony said after the scouts moved away. He said he took no offense. "I'm fortunate enough to have people wanting to talk to me."

Another player was asked how old he was when his parents split up and whether he maintains a relationship with his father.

A reporter listening to all this wondered whether teams were now more sensitive to the prospect of domestic violence or family troubles in general, in the wake of the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson episodes. Scouts said that wasn't the case, so much, that most of the questions have to do with determining a player's level of responsibility and maturity.

"It's been a lot of questions. They want to know about your background, your history," Duke wide receiver/returner Jamison Crowder said yesterday. "How do you learn the game of football? They ask me what I feel comfortable with, playing outside or inside. It's been a lot of questions thrown at me, and I feel like I've handled the questions and the process well this week."

Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt said, "So far, it's just been, 'Who are you? Tell us about yourself.' "

What does he tell them?

"You're going to get a leader when you get me," Prewitt said. "I'm comfortable having the stress of the defense on my back, and I perform with that stress very well . . . I perform very well under pressure."

One prospect, who plays a position that requires a level of intelligence and analysis, was asked how many weeks there are in a year.

"Ummm . . . About, like, 54 1/2?" the player replied.

"Close enough," the scout said, and moved on to other areas.

Later, that scout said he often asks the weeks-in-the-year question and no longer even raises an eyebrow at varying answers. One guy a few years back guessed "five," the scout said.

"And that guy who said 'five' kicked absolute butt in the league this season," he continued. "So . . . "

Safety first?

There seems to be a decent crop of safeties in Mobile this year, headlined so far by Prewitt, who has Chip Kelly-approved size at 6-2, 212.

"I've been playing sideline to sideline," Prewitt said. "At the same time, I can [get] down in the box and play as strong as any linebacker."

Asked his strongest attribute, Prewitt said: "Probably my intelligence, my instinct for the game. I know what's going on . . . I pick up on things really well. It allows me to play really fast; I take a lot of pride in my football IQ."

UCLA's 6-1, 190-pound Anthony Jefferson has been practicing alongside Prewitt for the South team, and they make a solid tandem. The North has Michigan State's Kurtis Drummond (6-1, 200) and Northwestern's Ibraheim Campbell (5-11, 220), from Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.

Prewitt said the South receiver who has given him the most trouble this week is a familiar SEC adversary, Auburn's 6-2, 200-pound Sammie Coates.

"When you have a receiver that size, that fast and athletic, he can make mismatches on the defense," he said.

Orchard blooms

A standout in yesterday's North practice was 6-4, 251-pound Utah edge rusher Nate Orchard, who fought through a block to pick off a screen pass and generally gave a pretty good o-line group fits.

"I prefer to play with my hand in the ground [in a 4-3]. I've been doing it for 10 years, but if I had to play outside linebacker, the transition would be smooth," Orchard said.

Orchard said he is familiar with dropping into coverage.

"I did it all 4 years," he said. "I've got good hips."

Asked about his interviews, Orchard mentioned the Eagles: "Chip Kelly was there. It felt intense. I got a lot out of it, it was good."


"It was Chip Kelly - c'mon, head coach of the Eagles!" Orchard said. "His presence was just [intimidating]."

Orchard came to Utah as a receiver, but a glut there made him a defender, he said.