A Big Opportunity

Young Dolphins defensive tackles Kevin Vickerson and Fred Evans have sat and watched and learned all season behind the team's veteran D-linemen, but one of them finally should get the chance to suit up Sunday at Indianapolis.

Nose tackle Keith Traylor didn't practice on Friday as he continues to battle knee and toe problems, and he's not expected to play Sunday.

That means the Dolphins need another big body up front to back up Jeff Zgonina because Dan Wilkinson already is on injured reserve.

Nick Saban said Friday that either Vickerson or Evans would get the call.

Both Vickerson and Evans are seventh-round picks, Vickerson last year and Evans this past April. But Vickerson is virtually a rookie because he spent all of last season on injured reserve after sustaining a knee injury in the preseason.

Vickerson spoke to Dolphin Digest a couple of weeks ago and talked about the opportunity to learn behind the veteran defensive linemen and also his eagerness to get into the lineup.

Here's what Vickerson said:

On what he's learned from the veteran linemen: "A boatload of information. It's about 50 years of experience all together with these guys. Me being a young player and a young guy being in the league and trying to make a name for myself, it's just you sit back like a classroom with the information that these guys got to give you and just there for me and just watch film and look at their technique and see how they play blocks, see how they read schemes and stuff like that and can call out an offense, and what they've got in this formation and what they're doing in this set. It's just a lot of the things that you can learn from a Keith Traylor and Dan Wilkinson and Jeff playing nose, about the three-technique with Vonnie Holliday and Kevin Carter, watching the end play with JT and David, it's just things you can play and just watch them and do all kind .... it's just unbelievable the knowledge and experience they've got. As a kid, I watched these guys playing, but now I'm part of the same unit that these guys are. I'm grateful to be here. I want to seize the moment and get my turn and get my opportunity, and when I do I will be well prepared because of the knowledge and the information that these guys are passing on to me. It's real cool."

On whether the tutoring starting in training camp: "All the way up to that point, yeah, because all the practices and all the information they give you eventualy you come up too high one time, see you how pass, setting them up one-on-one and go this way and go that way, they're always coaching you and they're always helping you out. Especially up in camp and all the way up to now, even when we're in drills they come out and they tell you what you're doing wrong. The experience and knowledge on this D-line is unbelievable, might be the oldest, the most experience in the league. That's nothing but a blessing for me being a young player."

On whether anybody in particular has spent a lot of time working with him: "As a collective group, everybody has helped us out. Me, Fred and Rod (Wright), it's hard because you know you want to play but at the same time when you've got veteran guys like this they're helping you and you can't do nothing but watch and look how you do it for when it's your time to step up. It's like you're taking mental notes and mental reps, that's what it is and that's how you can learn off of it. That's like your snaps in a game, so when your game time comes around and comes up, it's like you've been there the whole time."

On being eager to play: "I know it's not in my hands, it's Coach's decision and the D-line is healthy, so when the time comes I'm ready. All I can do is stay ready and be prepared and right now that's all it is right now. I don't know what's the cause or what's the plans, I'm just trying to make myself established so I can be here for years to come."

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