Last year, Steve Loney wore the hat of offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. It was part of a holdover budgetary nightmare from the Red McCombs days that Loney and his troops endured, even while the pains of long days and short nights caught up with the instructor.
Loney's chances for success became even slimmer when his assistant/intern, former Viking Corbin Lacina, quit during the season.
This year, with more veteran players and two full-time, experienced position coaches manning the offensive line, Adam Goldberg says things are different. Pat Morris and Jim Hueber are both offering advice and working together to shape what could be one of the best offensive lines in the league.
"They're both chiming in when they see it's the time to do so," said Goldberg. "They have different styles. Pat's been in the league forever and Huebs is a great asset coming from the college game. It's a nice one-two punch."
After a rough training camp, Goldberg started the final 12 games of the season at right guard after 2005 rookie Marcus Johnson was pulled from the starting lineup. Before that, Goldberg spent the minicamp and training camp seasons switching between the two guard spots and even seeing some practice time at center.
All the while, the offensive line was put on the public hotseat by former head coach Mike Tice, who went so far as to bring a fan from the sidelines of training camp to act as a player on the offensive line. It was an attempt to show the offensive linemen, and it seemed especially Goldberg, that Tice wasn't happy with what he was seeing.
Goldberg and Loney, both asked by Viking Update about the incident, handled it with class, but it was obvious the attempt at public humiliation bothered them.
That sort of scene isn't likely under new head coach Brad Childress's watch, but now Goldberg enters training camp without a starting job. Steve Hutchinson and Artis Hicks are the starting guards, not some combination of Chris Liwienski, Goldberg, Anthony Herrera, Marcus Johnson or Anthony Herrera – all of whom started at guard last year.
This year, Goldberg and the rest of the holdover offensive linemen are acclimating themselves to the new coaching staff.
"They have a tough job in trying to rearrange their cards and try to make a winning hand. Wherever they decide to put you, you just have to play as well as you can at that position," Goldberg said.
While he isn't quite ready to accept his new role as a backup without a fight for a starting position, Goldberg is the consummate professional who isn't likely to make waves if he doesn't work his way back into the starting ranks.
He honed his professional attitude under Loney, and now its Goldberg's turn to handle on-the-job adversity with class.
"It's nice knowing that we have time to watch drills and things that we didn't have time to do last year because Coach Loney was wearing so many hats. Coach Loney is a great coach and a great person and he's got great character," Goldberg said. "A lot of times like that when people are spread thin or they're under any type of stress, character can really pull you through."
Attention to Detail Should Improve on OL
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