Marpet, Pamphile in the Mix at Center for Bucs

Ali Marpet and Kevin Pamphile join Joe Hawley and Evan Smith as offensive linemen to practice at center this off-season.

The Buccaneers' depth at center is something that excites Head Coach Dirk Koetter, who said that the flexibility of his offensive guards and tackles is what allows him to easily move them up and down the line. 


"We're really fired up with the versatility of our cross-training on guys," Koetter said last week at practice. "We talked about D-tackle maybe not being as deep a position, but center might be our deepest position right now."


Crisp, accurate and quick snaps to QB Jameis Winston from the starting center are going to be crucial to the Buccaneers' ball security in general, and having multiple players who can do just that while offering up exceptional pass protection is a huge bonus for the Bucs. 


Ali Marpet and Kevin Pamhpile took center reps at practice last week, and by doing so reinforced the main core of the Bucs' centers pool that is Evan Smith and Joe Hawley. Coach Koetter even brought back Ben Gottschalk from last year to further bolster the team's depth at the position.

Koetter's tendency to rotate most of the offensive linemen at center is a smart move because it will help each one of them become more well-rounded players. Learning to block from different angles after the snap is a good thing, so that roster management can be made easier in the case of injuries, with plenty of well-practiced, versatile reserve players at the ready. Trying new guys out at center is also valuable because there is always the potential possibility of striking gold with a player trying out a new position on the line that he may fit well in.


"We only got seven O-linemen up there on game day," Koetter said. "I can't even imagine what it would be like if we didn't have enough guys to snap the football."


Pretty good reasoning, coach.

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