Saints rookie WR Brandin Cooks balancing school, playbook _lowres

Advocate file photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Saints first-round draft pick Brandin Cooks stretches during rookie camp May 17. Cooks is back at Oregon State in Corvallis, Oregon, taking classes and learning the Saints' playbook online.

Rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks has pulled double duty this week, completing his junior year at Oregon State in Corvallis, Oregon, and getting schooled nightly online on Offense 101 by a member of the New Orleans Saints coaching staff.

Cooks, the 20th overall selection in the NFL draft, is expected to rejoin the team Monday for the final week of the offseason program.

“We go through the practice tape and go through the installation online,’’ Saints coach Sean Payton said after the team’s fifth and final minicamp workout Thursday. “He was here for the rookie camp, and he was able to take the (playbook) back with him and kind of work through page by page.’’

Payton said Cooks’ nightly online work lasted between 60 and 90 minutes in accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

“He will be here this weekend and Monday kind of getting caught up to speed as quickly as possible,’’ Payton said.

When asked if Cooks was a quick study, Payton replied: “It would probably be (too) early to say, but I think so, based on the time we had him at the rookie camp.’’

Friday the 13th

Friday marks a potentially unlucky day for those who believe in two of the more notable superstitions in western civilization. For the first time since 2000, a full moon falls on Friday the 13th, a potential double whammy for those who suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia (the day Friday and the number 13) or selenophobia (fear of the moon).

Bring it on, say a handful of Saints players.

“I know Friday the 13th is coming,’’ Saints cornerback Champ Bailey said. “I’m very aware of it. But I’m not superstitious. I grew up in the South. I know about the black cats. I know about not walking under the ladder, but I don’t live by any of that.’’

Though claiming not to be superstitious, Saints wide receiver Joe Morgan said he does become anxious when he approaches a pole while walking with one or more friends.

“When I’m walking with somebody and we split a pole, I got to go back around the pole or walk around the pole with him,’’ Morgan said. “I go out of my way to do that all the time. I don’t think anything bad is going to happen, it’s just habit. It’s crazy but I got to do it.’’

Broadcast news

Don’t look for Saints players to help boost viewer ratings of HBO Sports’ award-winning documentary series “Hard Knocks’’ this summer, not with the Atlanta Falcons serving as the featured team in training camp.

The show kicks off its ninth season Aug. 5.

“It’s training camp. I’m going to be asleep no matter who’s doing it,’’ Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette said. “I’m going to be knocked out. I’ll need as much rest as I can — 10:30 bedtime. Lights out.’’

Though he played his first five seasons in Atlanta and still has friends on the team, Saints inside linebacker Curtis Lofton said he has no interest in watching the all-access show.

“I hope we never do the show because I feel like it’s a distraction,’’ Lofton said.


Father’s Day on Sunday has a different feeling this year for Saints punter Thomas Morstead, whose son Maxwell James celebrated his eight-week birthday Wednesday. When asked if Morstead wanted his son to follow in his foosteps, Morstead replied: “I’ll raise him hopefully to be a good kid, and whatever he gets passionate about or wants to pursue, I’m going to facilitate the heck out of it the best I can.” ... Former Saints special teams coordinator Joe Marciano (1986-95) was a special on-field guest assistant this week during minicamp. A veteran assistant of 28 NFL seasons, Marciano also has been in charge of special teams at Tampa Bay (1996-01) and Houston (2002-13).

On tap

The Saints will wrap up their off-season program next week with four Organized Team Activities scheduled Monday through Thursday. Wednesday’s session is open to the media. All four scheduled practices are closed to the public.

The team will reconvene July 24 for training camp at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Payton said the training camp site is nearing completiong and will include two grass fields, a turf field and a two-story football facility with meeting rooms, offices, cafeteria and weight room.