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Seattle Seahawks

Music continues at Seahawks rookie minicamp, but Mike Macdonald is singing a different tune

Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald watches during the first day of rookie camp on May 3 at Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash.  (Kevin Clark / The Seattle Times)
Bob Condotta Seattle Times

RENTON, Wash. — While some things are changing as Mike Macdonald takes over as Seahawks coach in place of Pete Carroll, others are remaining the same.

Which means that, yes, there will be music at practice.

As players took the field at the VMAC Friday for the first day of Seahawks’ rookie minicamp, the music that was a staple throughout Carroll’s tenure could still be heard, but with the volume turned down some from years past.

Macdonald, though, said that figures to change.

“We’ll kick it up a little bit,’’ Macdonald said of a volume that on Friday served more as background music than starring attraction. “Trying to find the right balance.’’

Macdonald said he’s used to music in practice, with the Ravens having played it during his time there under head coach John Harbaugh.

“We did (in Baltimore),’’ he said. “Probably not as much as we’ll have (it) here.’’

As Macdonald noted later, Friday’s practice was merely the first of what will be many he will oversee as he begins his rookie season as an NFL head coach and there will be many tweaks along the way as he charts his own path.

Also, the workouts this weekend include only the team’s eight draft picks, 16 undrafted rookie free agent signees, a couple of young vets and about 25 others in as tryout players, meaning the workouts are not necessarily structured like others will be.

The rookies arrived Thursday and are being given a crash course in the playbook, and Friday’s workout was in large part designed to prepare them for how practices will be run once they merge with veterans for Organized Team Activities later this month.

Still, that it was the first time Macdonald coached a full-team practice — something he has never done as a head coach at any level — made it another milestone to mark.

Macdonald smiled later and said he initially let defensive coordinator Aden Durde call the plays on defense — something Macdonald has said he will do during the season.

“I was like ‘I think I need to figure out how to run a practice first,’’’ he said with a laugh. ’’It was fun. There are definitely things (you’re) taking notes on what you want to fix and things that we felt like we could do a little bit better job of. But overall it was a great effort. Coaches were into it. A lot of enthusiasm. So yeah, a good first start.’’

Macdonald spent the day mostly in, as he called it in “observational mode.’’

Wearing a Seahawks hat and sunglasses — but no gloves, which was another usual Carroll trademark — Macdonald calmly watched most of the workout, holding a play card and then making a notation after each one.

He spent some time with the defense — his area of expertise after having been a defensive coordinator with the Ravens the past two seasons — but mostly tended to oversee everything.

“I think right now as we get going, I’ll be more involved with the whole team and then when we get down to the nitty-gritty with the defense, I’ll probably spend more time with those guys when we’re separate (meaning, when the offense and defense are working apart from each other),’’ he said. “Right now, just want to get a great feel for the team and the guys and what we’re coaching. And it’s really cool to see how it’s all coming together.’’

It’s not just Macdonald that’s new, as there is only one holdover from last year on the 25-man on-field coaching staff — defensive passing game coordinator and defensive backs coach Karl Scott.

And while there are a handful of coaches with whom Macdonald has worked with before — such as assistant head coach Leslie Frazier and special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh — many are coaches he has no experience with, notably offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb and Durde.

That means Macdonald is not only learning players but also the coaching staff and their personalities and how they will mesh.

“Those are conversations that we’ve been having,’’ Macdonald said. “Just like with all aspects of the program we have a vision for the principles that we want to abide by. But the methods will be adjustable. We’ll figure it out and makes tweaks as we go. If you’re not willing to shake and move and evaluate what you’re doing and making sure that you’re on the right track I don’t think that’s doing justice to the team. So that’s how we’ll operate and how it will always be.’’

As might be expected during a time of year when optimism runs high, how Macdonald ran his first practice drew only raves from some of the players on the field Friday.

“Man I love coach Macdonald,’’ first-round pick Byron Murphy II said. “I feel like he’s very demanding. I feel like I want to play for a coach like that. A coach that pushes me. A coach that wants me to be great. So I love it.’’

Fourth-round pick Tyrice Knight, a linebacker from UTEP, concurred.

“He’s somebody who is straight forward,’’ Knight said. “He’ll get to the point. … I know he expects the best of me and I have respect for that and I think we’ll get along pretty well.’’

As Knight’s comment indicates, Macdonald may never be confused with Carroll in terms of loquaciousness.

Macdonald, who at 36 is half the age of his predecessor, made a joking reference to his reputation for being a little more on the businesslike side Friday when asked at one point if he was more vocal during his coordinator days in Baltimore.

“Take a guess’’ he said with a laugh. “Nah, I mean it’s as needed. But my personality right now (is) observational mode. As we get going you see things you’ll address, and we’re coaching everybody all the time. But yeah, it’s just fun to see football being done. But we want to do it the right way, up to our standard. So we’ll address those things. But when we’re cooking, let’s not get in the guys’ way and let them go play football.’’

Knight told reporters he understood that maybe they hadn’t seen Macdonald’s lighter side yet.

Knight, though, said he had.

Asked if he’d seen Macdonald smile Knight answered yes.

“First smile I saw when he told me to smile earlier this morning,’’ Knight said.

There figure to be plenty more now that Macdonald is finally getting back on the field.

“Any time we are doing football I’m excited,’’ he said. “It’s the best part of the job for sure.’’