Travis Wilson sees plenty of room in San Diego

The backfield seems crowded more than usual these days. With the team taking backs in the latter rounds of the last two drafts, and picking several on the wire, there does not seem to be much of an opportunity to make the San Diego Chargers. But things are not always as they seem. There is still plenty of space on the expanded practice squad. So when fullback Travis Wilson says he sees an opportunity, there is reason to believe him.

No one is supplanting Lorenzo Neal this year. He is a rock in the backfield, and one of the best blockers of this era.

But fullbacks are not a position that many tab a rookie to do. There are intricacies involved in blocking for any back and when you have LaDainian Tomlinson in the backfield a lead blocker is perhaps more vital than his offensive line. Tomlinson expects that one guy who snakes through to be picked up. Anyone else he is confident he can allude.

For a true fullback, such as Travis Wilson, there is opportunity down the road. Neal garnered a three year contract when he came to town and has two years left on it. Two years of learning could push a fullback into a starting role if he shows promise.

Wilson is confident he can be that guy.

"It is a great opportunity for me to go out there and make the squad," Wilson said. "I believe there is a great coaching staff there, great talent and this team has a chance to go places in the next couple of years."

A couple of years is the key. Wilson wants to be a part of a team he sees as being on the rise.

One thing that he does have heading into training camp is friends in his corner who want to see him do well. When put in any tough situation, and making an NFL squad certainly fits that bill, having longtime friends to help you through it is sure to help.

"That is pretty cool actually," Wilson said. "I didn't hear about it until a couple days after I signed with them. I found out JT (James Terry) and Randy (Randy Jordan) are coming out, so yeah, it is going to be exciting to have a couple faces around."

Just like Terry, he thinks the chances of them ending up tied to the goalpost are slim.

"Yeah, maybe not, unless they get all of us," Wilson said with a laugh. "We have an alumnus Ben Leber there too so maybe that will help us out."

What also helps is Wilson enters camp as a former team captain of the Kansas State Wildcat squad. He knows his place within the system and will do his best to fit in.

When leaving the college ranks and owning a place where the younger players looked up to you to go to a place where you are expected to listen and speak only when spoken to would seem like a daunting task.

Not so says Wilson:

"I don't consider it to be that much of a difference. I know I am not going to be able to step right in and be a leader because not a lot of people are going to know me. You just have to do what you do and lead by example. Learn from the guys who are there and hopefully step into that spot after I am in San Diego for a couple of years."

Still it has to be sort of a culture shock to a man who has led his running backs group at a school that is known for its running. He held that position with pride at K-State. What happens when he sees someone doing the wrong thing?

"You have to feel it out," Wilson retorts. "It depends on who the leaders of the group are. Lorenzo's been around for a long time and he is the vet. He is the leader of the running backs group. It is his spot to let me know what he wants me to do."

Leaders know when they have to take a backseat. It is what makes them leaders in the first place. Gaining wisdom from those who have been there before and as Wilson sees it, he will be a vet soon enough and then it will be his place to take the reigns not only on the field in a lead blocking role but off the field with guidance.

Maybe there is a spot for a fullback looking for a job in San Diego.

Denis Savage can be reached at

SD Super Chargers Top Stories