Titans have competition at guard

Associated Press  |  Last updated August 03, 2012
For four seasons now, Fernando Velasco has been looking for an opportunity. The undrafted free agent first came to the Titans in 2008 and promptly got injured at the start of his first training camp. Since that time, he spent nearly two years on the practice squad and last year as a backup guard and center. But now, Velasco is finally getting a chance to be considered for a starting role, primarily at right guard. The main competition for Velasco is Leroy Harris, a two-year starter at left guard, who is trying to stay in the lineup by moving over to the right side after the Titans signed seven-time Pro Bowl selection Steve Hutchinson as a free agent. ''For a guy like me, it's fine. As athletes, that's all we want to do is have a chance to compete. That's the fun part about it is getting a chance to compete,'' said Velasco, who played both center and guard at the University of Georgia. The Titans (No. 21 in the AP Pro32) have said that Velasco might also find himself in the center mix, where Eugene Amano and Kevin Matthews are in a position battle as well. But thus far in camp, Velasco has mostly been at right guard. ''For me it doesn't matter what position, I just want to play,'' Velasco said. ''I don't want to be picky. I'll let them decide that. With all the guys they've got playing both positions, I think they're going to mix and match them and see what the best combination is. I'm not picky, I just want to be part of the five.'' Harris knows that feeling as well. Until he became a starter in 2010, he spent three seasons as a backup guard and center himself, even getting a spot start at right tackle once in 2009. So moving over from left to right guard isn't a big deal, if it means staying in the Titans' starting lineup. ''Moving to the other side, I don't mind it,'' Harris said. ''I've been fortunate enough to play a bunch of positions while I've been here, so moving to right guard is not that big of a deal. It's just the switching of the feet and getting comfortable with (right tackle David) Stewart, and getting comfortable with the footwork.'' Thus far in camp, offensive line coach Bruce Matthews has kept Harris, and Amano, the Titans' starting center the past two years, in with the first team, though a true competition has been promised. ''Right now, it's just a matter of them getting work. They're all getting an equal amount of work, whether it's with the ones or the twos,'' Matthews said. ''The starters from last year are the ones who are getting the lion's share of the ones right now. But the big thing at this point of camp is as many reps as we all can get.'' Once the first couple of weeks of camp are done, and the linemen are in true football game shape, the mixing and matching of personnel will be more frequent. Harris says he welcomes the competition, even if his starting spot is one that is up for grabs. ''The competition is to be expected. That's the game we play. You expect to be competing every play, and I welcome that. It pushes us and makes us all better, and I like that competition part of it anyway. It drives you,'' said Harris who missed time in the off-season following shoulder surgery. How long will it take for the competitions on the line to play out? ''To be perfectly, I'd love to see the competition go all the way to the (start of the) season, because you've got two capable guys who won't be playing in that spot as well,'' Matthew said. --- Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sam Mitchell reportedly candidate to join Pelicans’ coaching staff

Warriors GM indicates Steve Kerr still isn’t ready to return

Taylor Hall says it was “nice to finally see” the Edmonton Oilers eliminated

Report: Jets to hire female defensive backs coach

Vince Young officially inks contract with CFL team

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jason Witten: Bill Parcells is getting soft in his old age

Braves make up with fan ejected by security for interference

David Price to start for Red Sox Monday against Chicago

David Price to start for Red Sox Monday against Chicago

Magic Johnson indicates Brandon Ingram is Lakers’ only untradeable player

Congress drafted a bill that could legalize online sports betting; how soon might it happen?

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

It’s our civic duty to stop attending Super Bowls in new stadiums

Box Score 5/25: The Cavaliers look to close out the Celtics

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

Box Score 5/24: Craig Anderson saves the Senators

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

Box Score 5/23: Preds, Warriors move on to respective Finals

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 'Farewell to the Manu, the Myth, the Legend' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Dejounte Murray gets his calls blocked twice

It's reality check time for the Texas Rangers

The 'Walk on home, boy' quiz

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker