OXNARD, Calif. --- This all feels pretty familiar to Bo Scarbrough so far.
That's probably not surprising, given where the rookie running back is coming from. As has been well-documented, Scarbrough was drafted this spring out of Alabama – a program that has set the standard for what a college football team is capable of achieving.
"Obviously in college football they're as good a program that's ever been assembled," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Wednesday.
Garrett famously spent time with Alabama coach Nick Saban when the two coached for the Miami Dolphins. It isn't shocking that Garrett would model his program after such a successful coach, which hasn't been lost on his newest ball-carrier.
"It's great, because you know the ins and outs. Jason Garrett is just like Coach Saban, so you know what to expect," Scarbrough said. "You know he wants you to do the little things right, and you know he wants you to be busy and that the expectations are high."
Across a variety of different spectrums, Garrett has tried to mold his program with the Cowboys after things he learned from Saban. It should only make sense that a product of Saban's system would feel right at home.
"I can see it, because they're both about being disciplined and respect – effort, toughness, mental toughness," Scarbrough said.
Speaking of high expectations, Scarbrough comes to the Cowboys with far more fanfare than your average seventh-round draft pick. During his time with the Crimson Tide, he picked up quite a reputation for his large stature and physical style. On top of that, he seemed to show quite favorably in big-time games.
Scarbrough rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns in Alabama's College Football Playoff semifinal win against Washington. A week later, he ran for 93 yards and two scores in the Tide's national title game loss to Clemson.
"Bo was highly regarded coming out of high school, going to Alabama and really did some great things there at different times in his career," Garrett said. "We just felt like he had a chance to come in here and compete for one of those running back spots."
Therein lies the fun dichotomy. Scarbrough was a workhorse for Alabama, helping them rack up a lot of hardware and earning household recognition. Here in Oxnard, he's at the very best the No. 3 running back behind Ezekiel Elliott and Rod Smith – and at the very worst he's in a roster battle with Darius Jackson and Trey Williams, just to earn a job.
It's a bit of a departure from college. The third-team offense might get as few as six reps in a given practice, so Scarbrough's practice reps are few and far between. Coming from a program with as much talent as Alabama, though, he said he knows the drill.
"That's just something Coach Saban always talked about," he said. "You've got to get mental reps and be ready when your number is called."
Much like the college game, patience will be key. With four exhibition games to play between now and roster cuts, Scarbrough will hear his number called plenty in due time.
"He works very hard and you definitely see some talent. He'll get some opportunities in the preseason," Garrett said.