Jared Goff showed up to the UC Irvine dorms a bit ahead of his fellow rookies Tuesday, getting a quick start on his first training camp with the Los Angeles Rams.
In truth, the Rams' quarterback of the future has been trying to get a head start since shortly after the team wrapped up offseason workouts a month ago. The No. 1 draft pick has been working out at a high school near the Rams' new Thousand Oaks home base alongside fellow quarterback Case Keenum, rookie receivers Pharoh Cooper and Nelson Spruce and several others.
They don't want to waste a moment in their quest to make the Rams' homecoming season a success.
"We were out there... just running our routes and getting our chemistry down," Cooper said. "I had to get into the playbook, myself. (Goff) was calling plays, and I forgot some of them. I went to Jared's house a couple of times and hit the playbook with him."
The Rams decided not to make Goff available to the large contingent of media watching the rookies' arrival at camp Tuesday. Several cameras, including the crew from HBO's "Hard Knocks" series, shadowed the rookies' every move, and they'll do the same to the veterans on Thursday.
Keeping expectations at a manageable level will be a major task for coach Jeff Fisher and the Rams, who don't want their prize passer to carry any more burdens than the expectations and responsibilities already heaped on his shoulders. The Rams say they won't be concerned whether Goff or Keenum starts their season opener at San Francisco in early September.
"We're going to coach (Goff) to be successful, and we're not going to put him in with a chance to fail," Fisher said last month after the Rams' final practice. "That's the most important thing in developing a young quarterback."
Goff has several weeks and four preseason games to get ready, and he'll have plenty of help from the youngsters making the journey with him.
When Cooper rolled up to campus in a new Porsche with cameras following his every move, his fancy wheels and broad grin couldn't hide his level of excited anxiety about the weeks ahead.
"About a 10 out of 10," Cooper said to describe his level of nervousness.
The Rams eased into their first offseason back in California by spending the past six months headquartered at a fully functional training complex in coastal Oxnard. That complex is the Dallas Cowboys' annual home for training camp, so the Rams had to pack up and move more than 100 miles southeast to Orange County for their own camp.
The players will share dormitories at UC Irvine for the next five weeks or so -- longer than most teams stay in residency at training camp -- because the Rams are still putting the finishing touches on their new in-season training complex in Thousand Oaks. The Rams aren't exactly roughing it on UC Irvine's beautiful campus, and the players hope this extended trip back to school will build their chemistry.
"I thought I left college, but it seems like we're right back at it," rookie tight end Temarrick Hemingway said. "I guess I'll get my textbooks and start studying for my chemistry test tomorrow."
The rookies get a few extra workouts before the veterans report, and the Rams hope they'll make an impact. All but one of Los Angeles' draftees are offensive players, addressing the obvious needs of the NFL's worst passing offense last season.
"It's exciting to be back," Cooper said. "I'm looking forward to having fun, competing and just making plays out here again."