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You snooze, you lose? Don't tell Hoag
Redskins Training Camp Day 10: Letters from training camp

 Ryan Hoag's first love is soccer. But an oversleeping incident made him give football a try. Now he's in the 'Skins camp.
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Date published: 8/7/2007

DEAR REDSKINS FANS, Made a new friend today. We have a lot in common.

Well, mainly, we like to sleep. And sometimes we like to oversleep.

But Ryan Hoag's sleep pattern helped him become a professional football player. My sleep pattern helped me become a professional writer, because it's one of the few jobs that don't make you rise at the same time as the sun.

Anyway, here's the deal. Hoag, a wide receiver for the Redskins, was a soccer player in high school. He spent part of one season as the quarterback of the JV football team, but that was it.

He enrolled at Wake Forest, and after playing club soccer for one season, he called the Demon Deacons' head coach and talked his way into a tryout. He made the team.

And this is where the oversleeping comes in.

Hoag had just bought a new alarm clock. He set it to wake him for his first practice, which started at 7 a.m. He remembers his roommate shaking him at 8.

"I just looked at the clock like, 'Dude, you've got to be kidding me,'" Hoag said.

When Hoag arrived for the day's second practice, he was fumbling for a good excuse.

"Now don't get me wrong," Hoag said, "I'm not the kind of person that lies."

So what'd you do?

"I said the coach told me two-a-days were on Thursday, which was the truth," Hoag said, "but he'd also told me they were on Tuesday. After practice, they told me to take a hike."

Hoag stuck with intramural flag football. Then he realized he was kind of good at it. He e-mailed the football coach at Gustavus Adolphus College, a small Division III school in Red Wing, Minn.

"I told him I'd played intramural football and done really well," said Hoag, who's from Minneapolis. "He told me to come on out."

Wait, so that's all it takes? You just have to be some college kid who tells a coach he dominates his intramural team? Ryan, if this article hits the college scene, there'll be squatty, unathletic kids everywhere e-mailing Notre Dame and USC.

"Hey, doesn't hurt to try," he said. "What's the worst that can happen?"

The better question is: What's the best that can happen? In Hoag's case, you can finish your college career with 144 catches for 2,232 yards and 29 touchdowns, and then you can be selected by the Oakland Raiders with the final pick of the 2003 NFL draft.

Will write more soon,

P.S.--It was ridiculously humid here today. When I was thirsty, I took a cup, turned it sideways and ran as fast as I could. Didn't work.

The Free Lance-Star's Adam Himmelsbach reports from Redskins training camp in Ashburn.