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Practice Report 8/8: Hagen's Winning Day

Posted Aug 8, 2015

The Rams concluded a light special teams practice with a fun competition that UDFA rookie safety Jacob Hagen ended up winning.

After last night’s Lindenwood scrimmage, the Rams held a short special teams session as part of their recovery day in Earth City. Practicing without pads, the squad worked through a number of drills before coordinator John Fassel announced a competition to end practice.

Calling it, “August Madness,” Fassel had the 64 players split into pairs and then gave each pair a football. With each player having one hand on the football, the individual’s objective was to maintain a grip on the football at the sound of the whistle. Whoever successfully accomplished that moved onto the next round -- tournament style. After whittling the competitors down to two, rookie Jacob Hagen came away as the champion.

“At the end of practice, coach Fassel just wanted to do a drill to bring a little competition -- he likes there to be a lot of competition in-house,” Hagen said. “We were just having a little fun competing.”

“As a competitor, all these guys are out here wanting to win,” Hagen added. “Even if it’s something little as that, you want to win.”

With size 2X gloves, Hagen’s large hands played a role in his victory. But there was some strategy involved, too.

“It helps if you’re on the bottom of the ball,” Hagen said. “You usually have more power from down there.”

The undrafted free agent starred at Liberty, where he tallied a team-high eight interceptions in 2014. Named an FCS All-American by various media outlets, the three-year college starter said he feels like training camp has gone well so far. Knowing he has to take advantage of every opportunity in order to make the roster, Hagen has readily embraced trying to make an impression on special teams.

“Football is not just offense and defense -- it’s special teams, [too]. So anytime, especially as a rookie, any way you can contribute, any special teams is huge,” Hagen said.

While the Rams do have plenty of talent at the safety position, Hagen isn’t concerned about the numbers game. Instead, he sees his situation as a chance to acquire knowledge from those ahead of him.

“I have a great opportunity. Those guys have been around for a couple years,” Hagen said. “You learn from them, especially with the defense. And then come out every day [and play] special teams with a mindset that’s ready to work and get better.”

Hagen is getting a little antsy, though, saying he feels like nearly everyone on the team is ready to go hit a different color. But he added that he doesn’t anticipate having too many jitters when he steps on the field in Oakland for the first time.

“We’re going out to play football,” Hagen said. “I’ve done that my whole life.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Rams made a pair of roster moves on Saturday, releasing running back Terrence Franks, an undrafted rookie out of Texas State, and signing defensive tackle Marcus Forston.

Forston previously spent time with the Patriots from 2012-2014. New England released him in August of last year. A Miami product, Forston has appeared in four NFL contests.