What’s up, football fans? I’m Bengals rookie tight end Tyler Eifert, and I’ll be blogging for Made Man this season from the heart of Who Dey Nation in Cincinnati.

I can’t control how many balls might come my way or how much I’ll play. I can control that I’m getting in the weight room, paying attention to the playbook and knowing my responsibilities so that when the opportunities do come, I can make the most of them.

Let’s talk transitioning to the pros, our upcoming Monday Night Football home opener against the Steelers, my Notre Dame Fighting Irish and country music.

In terms of competitive games, I went from the biggest stage you can be on in college—my Irish in the BCS National Championship Game against the Crimson Tide—to the biggest stage as a professional athlete, playing in my NFL debut last Sunday. I really have dreamed of it my whole life, but making it actually happen is something else. Wow! I’m here.

I caught my first NFL pass on our first play of the season. It was also my birthday, which made it really special.  It was great to get that first catch out of the way and not have to worry anymore. It helped get the jitters out. Overall my game went well and I played quite a bit. Obviously, we’d like to have won the game. Personally, I just tried to make sure I knew my responsibilities and get the job done as best as I can.

Being on that big platform at Notre Dame has prepared me to play in the NFL, but what’s different? People talk about the speed of the game, and it is definitely faster but not as different as it’s made out to be. You do notice the physicality and hitting of the pro game. One thing that’s definitely different is that this is my only job now, there’s no school, so I have more time to prepare for games and come ready to play.

I don’t really have any personal numbers I want to achieve this season. I can’t control how many balls might come my way or how much I’ll play. I can control that I’m getting in the weight room, keeping my strength up, paying attention to the playbook and knowing my responsibilities so that when the opportunities do come, I can make the most of them.

A preview of things to come? Our blogger caught everything in sight at ND.

Although we gave up 14 points on three turnovers Sunday, there were many positives. Our quarterback Andy Dalton comes to work every day with the same mentality, always up, he’s a real leader. He’s accurate with the ball, and all around he’s a pretty damn good quarterback.

Moving forward, it’s a long season. We realize what we did wrong and will fix that. We’ve now got two big home games coming up—Monday Night against the Steelers and then the Packers, and we got to make sure we’re ready for them. I’m expecting my whole family to make the three-hour drive from Fort Wayne, Indiana to watch the game. What a start to my career, playing at famous Soldier Field and then my first Monday Night Football game. Bring it on!

Yeah, I’m a big Irish fan. I went to the season home opener against Temple. It was weird watching from the sidelines, not playing. I’m obviously very happy where I’m at now, but it was pretty special going back. Then it was tough to watch ND lose against Michigan last weekend. We don’t like them, they’re a big rival! But we have guys who’ve been on the team for a while. They know how this goes, they’ve done it before, and they’ll bounce right back against Purdue.

Also, I’m a big country music fan. Right now I’m listening to a lot of Blake Shelton, who’s also a judge on The Voice. He’s a cool dude and has got some great stuff out. I like Toby Keith, he’s the man, and guys like Kenny Chesney. I like them all. I saw a whole bunch of concerts this summer including Darius Rucker, and Jason Aldean (check out “Dirt Road Anthem”). I use music to relax, keep me calm, and to chill on my way to the stadium before games. I don’t want to be too worked up, nervous or anxious before a game.

Think that’s it for today. A big shoutout to Who Dey! And, Go Irish! Check back with me next time when we’ll talk about HBO’s Hard Knocks series, and follow me on Twitter @EiferTy85.

—As told to Ashley Jude Collie