What was your first scouting experience?
Steve Verderosa, Executive Scout: I remember it very well. It was August of 1987. It was my one year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and I flew from New York through Dallas to College Station, Texas, in a plane and I was the only passenger. The pilot, in one of those little prop planes, says, ‘Buckle up, cowboy, you’re in the ride for your life.’ It was a rollercoaster ride. There were thunderstorms going through Dallas. It was miserable. I landed in College Station, Texas, and I was supposed to get a rental car in a little airport, and the plane was late. So the rental counter was closed, and they went home and I had no way to get to the hotel -- couldn’t get a cab -- and a local guy at the airport drove me to the Holiday Inn.
Chris Pettit, Scout: My first scouting experience was at the wonderful university of Slippery Rock, north of Pittsburgh. I didn’t know where I was going. I got lost going in. It was a small school. [General manager] Jerry [Reese] got me started with a small school and went from there.
Joe Collins, Executive Scout: My first real experience was missing the plane. When I first started scouting, we were flying and renting. I prefer to drive. You pack the car up, it could be 120 out, it could be a monsoon, it could be raining, but you’ve got everything right in your car. But when you’re flying and renting, it can be a real problem trying to pack properly because you could be going to the west coast and stuff. But we missed [the plane] because of traffic. That was my first experience scouting. It was a bad experience, but there’s always another flight.
Ryan Jones, Scout: My very first scouting experience was actually in North Dakota. I do not remember the guy I was scouting at the time, but it was in North Dakota. It was like, ‘Wow, New Jersey to North Dakota.’ It was actually warm because it was August. It was a beneficial thing to be out there in August, so it was really nice. North Dakota, wow, that brings back memories on that one.
How many miles do you travel per year and how many cars have you gone through?
Verderosa: I’m in my second vehicle since 2005, and this current vehicle I put approximately 35,000 miles a year on it. And that’s just the Giants miles.
Pettit: I’m on my third car and my eighth fall. I probably do about 20,000 miles, 15-20,000 miles on my car per year. I don’t fly much in my area. I drive most of it. I actually hit a deer this year on the way home from Boston, so I’ll be getting my fourth car very soon.
Collins: Over 30,000 a year. We have our own cars now. I just did my income tax, and it’s always over 30,000. I drive everywhere now except pre-draft meetings, the draft meetings, and training camp. It’s just so much more convenient.
Jones: Probably I’d say between 15 to 20,000 a year, and how many cars have I been through? I’ve been through four cars. I’m on my fourth car.
What is the smallest town you’ve visited on a scouting trip?
Verderosa: I’ve been to a lot of small schools – nothing against those places – but I remember it was my first year with the Giants, maybe the second, and I was in the Midwest and had to do a doubleheader. I did Oregon State at Kansas in the day and I had to go to Bethel College in Kansas to see a receiver in the evening. The stands were smaller than most high schools…I came from the first game, I had my Giants shirt on, everybody knew you were coming, and you were sitting there with mom and pop three rows up.
Pettit: I have the northeast, so there are a ton of small little schools all over the place. I’ve gone to schools out in the middle of Maine, middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania, some small schools out in Iowa. I had one incident out in West Virginia where I lost cell service, and the road I was going to take was closed. It was a long afternoon and night. This was before a lot of the GPS stuff, and it was a scary time out in West Virginia. I ended up having to go to the map and driving about 50 miles out of the way to find another bridge to cross into Ohio. It was a long day. It was a frightening time for a scout before GPS and cell phones really were good.
Collins: I’ve been to some strange places, now. Some small and strange places. Probably I’d say Idaho when I went to – it may not even be in existence anymore. But it was outside of Pocatello where Idaho State is. I don’t go out there anymore, so I forgot, but there are some small towns and [another] place that sticks out was Moses Lake, Washington. I drove from Seattle all the way out to where the University of Washington is to Washington State. They were going to have the Apple [Cup], which is the Washington-Washington State game out there, but I stayed half way. It was an unbelievable experience. That’s one of the good things about scouting – there’s good news and bad news – but I got to see the country.
Jones: Let’s see, there are a couple of these. One was West Liberty of West Virginia. It was like on top of a ski resort in West Virginia. You go winding and winding and winding all the way to the top. That’s one. Then another might be Eastern New Mexico [University] in Portales… You rode through two time changes to get there, and when you finally get there, you’re like, ‘Wow.’ That was one of the more interesting ones there. Another was Angelo State in Texas because that was on the back end of coming from North Dakota. That first trip, that first fall, the very first time I went out scouting, it was like ‘OK, here you go, Ryan, start in New Jersey.’ You go North Dakota, first stop then you work your way down to North Dakota State and then it was South Dakota. Then it was Wyoming and Nebraska and straight down into Colorado State and Colorado and Air Force, then to New Mexico State. You remember vividly that first trip…I ended in Angelo State, and at that time I had a map, and I was like, ‘Where is this place?’ It was like me and the jackrabbits out there.
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