BOURBONNAIS — Even if you didn't know much about the Bears and you happened on a practice at Olivet Nazarene University, you probably would ask the person next to you who that No. 75 is.
He stands out at times because he looks like a boy among men in terms of savvy. But he stands out more because he looks like a man among boys in terms of brute strength.
Yes, Kyle Long stands out.
He carries his pads like the first-round pick that he was. And he has become a big presence after just four days.
Long still is splitting reps at right guard with James Brown, but it already has become pretty evident Long is going to have a very significant role on this team.
When Long gets it right, he doesn't just block a defender. The son of Howie Long manhandles him. It's something to see.
"I'm blessed to be a pretty big guy with some strength," he said. "I'm trying to use that to my advantage. It's not necessarily just strength though. It's understanding momentum and leverage."
Toward that end, Long worked with Jay Glazer of Fox Sports on mixed martial arts fighting techniques in the offseason. Long said it helped with leverage, hip use and stamina.
"It puts you in position to be ready to go late in drives in football," he said.
If Long gets beat, it is more likely to be because he is confused or is using poor technique as opposed to being overpowered or out-quicked. He has a ways to go before he has a good grasp of it all.
"One thing I realized is it's not just blocking, it's who you are blocking," he said. "Everything is moving so fast and there is so much depth to what they are doing on defense. It's very advanced. Just trying to pick up on blitzes and things like that, it's been a learning process."
That's understandable. Long played only one season at Oregon, and he is far from a fully developed offensive lineman. That's why he has been taken a little aback by the attention to technique that has been demanded of him by offensive line coach Aaron Kromer.
"I've never had anything like it," Long said. "We went so fast at Oregon, we sacrificed technique for tempo. We wanted to go fast, fast, fast, fast. There wasn't a lot of time to get coached. We had great coaches there, but because of the format of practices, there wasn't a lot of hands-on one-on-one coaching. That's one thing coach Kromer does a great job of."
Long also feels a little behind because he couldn't work with his teammates during OTAs as a result of an NFL rule which states draft picks and college free agents can't participate in OTAs until after final exams at their schools. He said it "absolutely" has had an effect on him even though he tried to keep up by using Skype to see team meetings.
During his time away from the team, Long also worked with former Bears offensive line coach Tony Wise and with other linemen at Saddleback College, where he attended before going to Oregon. But it couldn't replicate being in Lake Forest.
And so Long asks a lot of questions. Of Kromer, of veterans Roberto Garza and Jermon Bushrod, of anyone who looks like they know what they are doing.
He also takes a lot of reps, probably as many as anyone on the team. With the ones. With the twos. With the threes.
And he loves it.
Long appears completely immersed in being a Bear.
He was the last one off the field Monday. The last one signing autographs. The last one eating lunch. And the last one doing interviews.
And he was bothered by none of it.
"I'm playing a game that kids play for fun," he said. "We're blessed enough to be able to get paid. It feels great."
The Bears are hoping Long's passion for the game, his competitive nature and his work ethic are contagious.
It's difficult for a rookie to be a leader, but Long is a natural. He understands his place on the team. He shows respect to others. And the way he carries himself demands respect in return.
The Bears have not chosen a player in the first round with Long's ability to immediately dominate a practice as well as a locker room since they selected safety Mark Carrier 23 years ago.
Now all Long has to do is show he can bring it on Sundays.