For Quinton Coples, the days of causing havoc on opposing offenses from the Atlantic Coast Conference are now in the past.
After putting together an outstanding four-year, 24-sack collegiate career at North Carolina, a new chapter in the journey began this morning for the Jets' first-round selection with the successful completion of his first day of practice as a professional at the start of the Jets' training camp at SUNY Cortland.
"I definitely feel like I belong here," Coples said following the conclusion of day one's practice. "It was tough running with the first team and getting after it, and making plays here and there, just fighting off blocks and things to that nature. But overall, I do feel like I belong."
The Jets coaching staff delivered high praise regarding the 6'6',' 285-pound defensive end during the team's minicamp back in June. Coples looks to provide an upgrade in team speed and will surely be a valuable asset if the Jets do indeed run some 4-3 defensive formations, as defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has previously mentioned.
The Kinston, N.C., native noted there were several differences between a professional practice and those he participated in during his time in Chapel Hill. The biggest of those was the high intensity level at an NFL practice and the increased number of plays put into one day. Coples also remarked that coaches are more passionate at the professional level and more is expected out of each individual.
But Coples classifies Cortland's campus as an ideal spot to make his transition to the pros a smooth and steady one.
"I love it," he said. "It's a great university. I didn't know if it was going to be that nice, but it's definitely a whole lot nicer than North Carolina training camp would be or something like that where we definitely would go to the worst dorms ever for practice mentality-wise. I think it's a great place, a great facility, and it's all been great so far."
And regardless of whether or not the team decides to incorporate the 4-3 defense into its game plan this season, No. 98 for the Green & White is going to continue enjoying and embracing the ride along the latest chapter of his journey.
"It's definitely going the right way," Coples said of his short time with the Jets. "I found my role, my position. I'm definitely finding my way through the defense. I just want to be a playmaker and make sure I make plays, and be productive on the defensive front."