Coston adjusts to guard

If fifth-round draft pick Junius Coston is going to make the 53-man roster this season, he knows that he'll have to prove to the coaching staff that he can be more than a center.

The Packers, in their two off-season minicamps, inserted Coston at left guard as the team rebuilds from the free agency losses of veteran guards Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera. Coston represents the future of the middle of the offensive line, but the time is now for him to prove that he can play more than center for the Packers if he is going to make the 53-man roster in September.

While many of the veterans have gone their separate ways for summer vacation, Coston, along with other rookies and free agents have remained to participate in the team's off-season workout program in preparation for training camp. In Coston's case, he is working on his footwork and upright blocking techniques.

"I've got to keep working on my technique," said Coston. "I've got to keep getting better on my technique so when I come back for training camp they'll see I've been working and they'll have more confidence in me. They have a lot (of confidence) in me right now, but they'll be be sure that I'm not going to mess up on technique or a play, or something like that."

Coston actually began his collegiate career with the North Carolina A&T State Aggies as a guard in 2001. He started four of the five games he played in that year. He then moved to offensive tackle in 2002, starting all 12 games.

Coston again shifted positions as a junior, lining up at center for every game. He earned second-team All-Mid Eastern Athletic Conference honors that year, as he collected 154 knockdown blocks. In 2004, he again led the team with 123 knockdowns, grading 90-percent for blocking consistency while garnering first-team All-MEAC accolades.

Thus far through two minicamps, the Packers like what they have seen out of the 6-foot-3, 317-pound offensive lineman. Offensive line coach Larry Beightol feels that Coston, the first of Green Bay's 11 draft picks this season to sign a contract, can play all three interior offensive line positions.

"We think he's going to be a guard," Packers director of pro personnel recently told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "Either side. The versatility he has is pretty good."

Coston said that the speed of the game in the NFL has been the biggest adjustment for him, but other than that, he feels confident about playing guard. "It's the little things you've got to learn, but once you learn those, it's like clockwork," Coston said.

Veteran Adrian Klemm is penciled in as the starter at left guard and either Matt O'Dwyer or Grey Ruegamer are likely to start at right guard. Coston will be battling against Steve Morley, Atlas Herrion, Chris White and seventh-round pick Will Witticker for a backup spot on either side.

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