Chargers Minicamp Saturday Afternoon

The loudest cheer of the Saturday's minicamp at the San Diego Chargers complex belonged to none other than LaDainian Tomlinson. Tomlinson shook the coins out of Ben Leber's pockets and got an extra fifteen yards before he was touched. It was a fitting tribute to the stud running back, but there were other reasons to be pleased on Saturday.

Ben Leber took his frustration out on the quarterbacks, well, sort of. Leber provided pressure up front on Doug Flutie who had to back off the man in his face and forced a throw off his back foot which was subsequently picked off by Kwamie Lassiter.

Second round pick Igor Olshansky is a beast. Plain and simple. His wingspan is unbelievable and the kid has a burning desire to get better.

He admitted he was a little rusty coming into this weekend as he has not seen the field since his original rookie orientation camp. He was held out due to school obligations that prohibited him from participating in the coaching sessions.

"I am just looking to get better everyday," Olshansky said.

And the early returns are promising. Olshansky threw a variety of moves at his offensive tackle counterparts and came away with several would be sacks. He was, in fact, credited with the only sack in the "move the chains" drill, simulating a live game. His best moves seemed to come against Courtney Van Buren.

Shaun Phillips also has been active. He has been moving around along the wall of linebackers and spent time on Saturday on the left side going against Van Buren. Phillips has an instinctive first step and with that it will be tough for his opponents to square up on him.

In one face-off with Van Buren, Phillips took the edge as Van Buren pushed him out wide. Phillips had enough of a burst to get past Van Buren and was actually behind him in pursuit of the quarterback but the offensive tackle remained relentless and dove backwards to get another hand on him and push Phillips further away from the play.

If Phillips can make a few plays like that it will tire out his opposition before the first quarter starts.

As a fourth round pick the Chargers are looking for him to contribute in big ways this year as a rush specialist who can provide some coverage.

"If God keeps me healthy and the coaches want me on the field, hopefully I can do some things to help us win some games," Phillips said.

Luke Powell provided some highlight reel plays of his own. The diminutive wide receiver was called on a number of times to run deep balls and showed his speed and elusiveness on one play to beat two defenders deep. Cleo Lemon delivered the ball to him but it was short and Powell did a fine job of adjusting to the ball and making the reception as the defenders caught up to him.

According to Powell, it wasn't his speed that got him behind those defenders. It was his route running and elusiveness:

"I think I am more elusive. I think that would be my main asset. I think I have enough speed where I get behind somebody that I am not going to get taken down."

It is a lot easier to be elusive when you are 5-foot-8.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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