Earlier this afternoon, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dudley Guice, first year receiver for the Colts. Guice made his way onto the Titans off-season roster in 2009 but slipped through the cracks in Tennessee and ended up spending some time playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League.
Sometimes a team makes a mistake when they let a player go too soon and if there is one team who has had great success finding spectacular players in guys that others have let walk it’s the Indianapolis Colts.
Guice is an uncharacteristic wide receiver prospect for the Colts. He stands at 6-foot 3-inches tall and weighs 209 pounds, which is three inches taller than any of the Colts starters in 2009. What makes him somewhat intriguing, despite the obvious benefits of such height, particularly at the goal-line, is that the Colts made a move last season to acquire Hank Baskett.
While it may not be my place to suggest that Baskett was acquired partially for the mismatch problems he could cause other teams if he developed in the Colts offense, the move at least suggests that the Colts are open to finding a taller receiver to add to Peyton Manning’s weapons. What Guice has that Baskett did not is 4.40 40-yard speed, a 39-inch vertical leap, and a better reputation for catching the football. He has also earned compliments for his route-running abilities.
Guice was kind enough to offer me some of his time and answer questions that I hope will give fans a closer look into his life and give them a better idea of how he made his way to Indianapolis.
Who influenced you most growing up and helped you develop your competitive spirit?
I have been competitive since I was very young. I have a great support system, especially my Mom and Dad. My competitive mentality developed over the years, probably starting when I was as young as six years old.
Which coaches, teammates, or competitors pushed you hardest when you were developing in high school and college?
David King was a great coach in high school [Trinity Episcopal High School - Natchez, Mississippi]. He taught me a lot, whether it was playing football, baseball, or basketball. Broderick Fobbs taught me a lot about doing things right and the fundamentals [at Northwestern State]. He always told me that I have a lot of potential, to stay humble, and that I would probably get a chance to play at the next level.
The Colts have a very good group of wide receivers, including two first round draft picks and two young guys who had quick success in the Colts system. How did that affect your decision to come to Indianapolis?
It really did not affect my decision at all. I approach it like a business. I will do whatever is necessary to make the roster, whether it is making special teams tackles, or learning to run routes, I will do my best. I will stay positive, stay open-minded, and be ready to do whatever the Colts organization asks me to do.
What has it been like to work with these guys?
It’s been great working with them. It has been an honor. You hear positive things about this group of guys and when you get here it is that way and then some. They are family oriented. They live it [the game] and enjoy the moment.
The Colts have a history of finding and developing undrafted players into big-time contributors, how did that affect your decision to come to Indianapolis?
It is definitely a blessing. You look at players like the Garçons and Collies, even being in the same class as those guys, it’s a pleasure and an honor. I will do my best to do the things I can do. Working with a team like the Colts is definitely a blessing.
Since arriving in Indianapolis, what differences pop out to you from your experience in Tennessee?
I am going into it with a different frame of mind. Now I have one training camp under my belt, so I know the kind of focus to go into with, how to be coachable, and how to take the good with the bad. I know not to worry as much about the little things but still make sure I do them right, if that makes sense.
What kind of work do you do on your own every day?
I try to catch at least 100 balls after practice. Usually Pierre, Taj, and Austin will try to get together and catch at least 100 balls. If I make a mental lapse in practice, I try to work on that then. I try to do something during that time to get the upper-hand, learn, and just use those 10 minutes at a time to stay consistent.
When you’re not on the field, in the weight room, or training on your own, what do you do for fun?
It’s kind of hard [spare time] because I’ve been an athlete most of my life. I love playing Madden, UFC, and action type video games. Sometimes I catch a movie or go bowling. I like to read novels. I am definitely a big movie-head.
What about you or your game do you think separates you from your camp competition?
I think my learning curve is really good. Whether playing the X, Y, or Z, I have a higher than average learning curve. I feel like I use my body well. I have big strong hands. I get out of my breaks. I am a big target in the red zone and I pride myself on going across the middle. I am a hard worker on special teams. Whatever the Colts want to do with my skills, I plan to use my God-given ability to fill that role, and to get better.
What area of your game do you feel you need to work on most?
I need to work harder when I’m tired, play faster. I think it’s a human thing, when you get tired, but I have been working on it a lot.
Do you have a nickname, and if you do, what is the story behind it?
A lot of people call me Junior, G-Man, or Guice. They called me Juice-man in Tennessee but I didn’t really like it. I like Guice or Junior. I was called Dud the Stud in college. You know how guys are in college. Laughs, I kind of liked it.
Who have you grown closest to since arriving in Indianapolis?
It’s a hard question because all the guys work hard to be successful. I have been really good friends with Ervin Baldwin, Terrail Lambert, Pierre Garçon, and Taj Smith off of the top of my head.
Which Colts player has reached out to you to help you develop the most?
All the receivers have been great but I interact more with Taj Smith. He answers a lot of my questions, as well as Pierre Garçon. I spend more time in the playbook with Taj and Pierre.
If you had to think of one (or more) funny or memorable thing that has happened since you have been around your new teammates and have spent time on the practice field, what would it be?
That is difficult because the players joke around about everything. I did really bad bowling. I bowled with Pierre, Taj, and Muir and I finished last. I mean, I thought I was good and I think I play pretty respectable, I bowl in the 170-175 range, but they can bowl in the 220s. They gave me a hard time for a couple of days.
I know that you are a player that a lot of fans are excited about. We do not see many guys your size, with your speed, and hands around here so I think a lot of them are looking forward to seeing you in training camp.
Yeah, I sort of slipped through the cracks in Tennessee. When they called on me in preseason I performed but it is just one of those things. Thanks for giving me your time.
One thing is certain, Dudley Guice is going to work as hard as he can to contribute to the Indianapolis Colts and make an impact. I hope you all will follow him and wish him the best of luck. Though many of you have seen it, I think it is worth posting Guice’s “Draft Guys TV” video once again so you all can take a look at a player who could really surprise camp-goers in August.