MIKE O'HARA

O'HARA: So far, so good for Kyle Van Noy

Posted Jun 10, 2014

On the football field and at the altar, rookie linebacker Kyle Van Noy couldn't be happier with his life.

Kyle Van Noy has been on one of the fastest tracks imaginable for a rookie linebacker.

Van Noy was married on Saturday in Utah to Marissa Powell, a model and the 2013 Miss Utah. On Tuesday, he was back at Allen Park for the start of the Lions’ three-day mandatory mini-camp.

On the football field and at the altar, Van Noy couldn't be happier with his life. He was still glowing when he talked about the wedding after practice Tuesday.

“It was wonderful,” he said. “I’m honestly truly blessed to have a woman such as the one I have. She’s my rock. She’s amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better half.

Kyle Van NoyLB Kyle Van Noy (Photo: Gavin Smith)

“First, she’s always positive. Then, she’s beautiful. It puts a smile on your face real quick.”

The business at hand this week is football, and the minicamp closes out the Lions’ official offseason workout program. After Thursday’s practice, they break until training camp starts in late July.

Van Noy was drafted in the second round out of BYU to play a major role in the Lions’ defense. The play-making skills Van Noy showed in college should fit the attacking style brought in by Teryl Austin, the Lions’ new defensive coordinator.

The learning curve for any rookie progresses in stages, and at a much slower pace than the whirlwind Van Noy experienced the last few days.

Van Noy is at the end of a five-week progression – drafted on May 9, rookie minicamp, practices and OTA workouts with the veterans and now the full-squad minicamp – with more steps ahead to prepare him for the start of the regular season.

Coach Jim Caldwell likes what he has seen in Van Noy so far, but he is quick to stress that games are a big jump from practice.

“I’m going to say this, and you’re going to hear me say it time and time again,” Caldwell said. “I can’t tell a whole lot about everybody until we get the pads on. This game’s not played in shorts. There’s a lot of guys that look really good now.

“The understanding is coming. With young guys, you can see all of those things. We can see the physical tools that he has, being able to run. He’s smart. He wants to be good. He’s diligent about his work. He listens. He asks great questions. I mean, all the good things (are) there.

“And he runs around and moves extremely well. But the fact of the matter is, there’s still another phase coming.  Until we get into training camp, when we get a chance to bang around with one another, then we get a real good sense of it.

“Even then, really, the preseason games are the first time we’ll be able to take them (offensive players) to the ground and those kind of things consistently. But he’s making good progress.”

The best advice Van Noy has gotten from the veterans is to not get ahead of himself.

“Right now, they say take it one week at a time,” Van Noy said. “That’s the best way to look at it. I’m the same way – take it one day at a time.

“Of course there’s a long-term goal and things to look at, but we’re all focused on getting better that day.”

There’s a new system to learn from what Van Noy played in college, but it’s also new to the veterans. The “Wide 9” that was a staple under former head coach Jim Schwartz has been dumped. For Van Noy in particular, the strong-side linebacker will play more on the line of scrimmage than behind the line.

“All in all, it’s all football,” Van Noy said. “It’s relatively simple. There are no major changes, drastic changes. You get drastic change when you go from linebacker to a d-line role, or linebacker to a safety role. It’s all the same.”