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
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon


McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker