Tony Tella had off-season shoulder surgery and is not participating in spring practices. He is out there with the team with his pads on, but does not participate in contact drills.
"It is real tough because this is my last spring," Tella said. "I want to be out there with the guys."
Tella is not the only significant member of the team not participating in contact drills this spring. Eric Winston, Orien Harris, Roger McIntosh, Tyrone Moss, and Lance Leggett are also watching from the sidelines.
Currently Tella is going through rehab to get him ready for the 2005 season.
"Rehab is going real well right now," Tella said. "I feel like I am about 85 percent now. I am out here at practice, but they don't want me to have any contact."
The guard position is full of guys that are fighting for playing time. Tyler McMeans and Derrick Morse both started six games at right guard last year. Andrew Bain, who was recently moved to tackle, can also play guard. They are able to get much-needed reps this spring, which is tough for Tella who is unable to compete with them.
"It is tough to be on the sidelines watching them compete," Tella said. "Because that will put them a step ahead of me when I come back in the fall. I wish I could be out there getting better."
On the first unit Morse has been the right guard with McMeans at left guard.
The offensive line unit has been productice at times this spring, but also has struggled trying to contain the defensive line--specifically on the first unit.
Tella has been able to watch the offensive line perform and offered his opinion on their progress as a unit.
"I think they are starting to get the concept down," Tella said. "They are improving on their technique in the pass and run game."
One area the offensive line wanted to improved on was their run-blocking skills. This spring running backs Charlie Jones, Derron Thomas, and George Timmons have been carrying the load at tailback with fullbacks Quadtrine Hill and James Bryant also in the mix.
"The running backs are doing real good," Tella said. "They are seeing the holes and taking off without hesitating."
Tella redshirted as a freshman in 2001 and is one of 10 still remaining from his signing class. While some of the seniors have not thought about their final year, Tella has.
"It is starting to hit me now," Tella said. "I have been here for a while now. This is my last go-round so I have to give it all I've got."
Tella currently weighs 306 pounds after gaining nearly 20 pounds since last season. He wants to be right at 300 for the fall.
Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at email@example.com
Tella Prepares for Final Season
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