Q: Tell me about the step you've taken from last season?
A: I learned a lot last year. I played left tackle, left guard, right tackle, right guard. I played every position except center. And during workouts in March, coach asked me if I'd ever taken center snaps. He wanted to make me more versatile and I want to be one of the guys who earns a hat on game day if I can be the guy who can play guard/center. So ever since those workouts in March, and up through the OTAs, I've taken snaps at center.
Q: How are you doing?
A: Pretty good. I've had a couple of missnaps here and there, but that's just a matter of getting used to the quarterback and how he handles the ball and pulls his hands out. I know the offense pretty well. I think I've improved every day.
Q: How would you describe last season?
A: It was definitely a year of learning. I thought I did pretty well in the preseason games at right guard. There were a couple things here and there, but right after the last preseason game they started moving me around to left tackle and left guard and right tackle, and I'd never played on the left side before. So the beginning of last season was a learning curve of playing left tackle against Deebo (James Harrison) and playing left guard against Brett Keisel. So it was definitely a learning curve, but I thought I improved as the year went along.
Q: What did you make of another rookie, Ramon Foster, playing ahead of you last season?
A: He was real skilled and I guess he showed more at camp than I did. I played right guard primarily at camp and he moved around and showed more versatility. That's what I'm working on now, my versatility.
Q: You look bigger. How much weight have you put on?
A: I haven't added weight, just bulk. I got a lot stronger in the offseason.
Q: I noticed that when we shook hands. But you were a strong guy coming out of Wisconsin, weren't you?
A: Yeah. My strength was pretty good. My lower body needed a little work. It was more about things like technique of holding against the bull rush and stuff like that.
Q: You feel much more comfortable in your second year, don't you?
A: It's a big difference between last year and this year. It's like night and day. I feel a lot more confident, a lot better at the position. Whichever position they put me in – right guard, center, left guard – I'll be able to go out there and give 110 percent. I feel a lot better as a player and a person than I did last year.
Q: I know it's only May, but what does it feel like to be running with the first team?
A: It feels good because they have the confidence in me to stick me there. I've never played center at all, and if Doug (Legursky) goes down they have the confidence to stick me in there. I've been making the calls and coach has been saying I've been doing a good job, so it's definitely good for my confidence and I'm growing as a player and getting better every day.