A big concern going into training camp will be who starts at the guard positions for the Buccaneers. Unheralded guard Patrick Omameh thinks he can solidify the position and contribute in 2014.
Bucs guard Patrick Omameh is a man of few words. After being signed off of the 49ers practice squad last October, Omameh kept to himself, choosing to sit in his locker studying his playbook during the team’s daily open locker room period last year.
So far in 2014 Omameh is saying a lot – just not with words. The former Michigan Wolverine standout has worked himself into the lineup at times during the OTAs and the most recent mini-camp, and while who will be the starters in September is far from being settled, it appears Omameh could be in the mix.
“I’ve been working hard, trying to be as physical as possible and learn as much as I can as fast as I can, and put myself into a position to give myself an opportunity not just now, but come the fall,” Omameh said on Wednesday following the second day of mandatory mini-camp. “I’m working and trying to make the most of my opportunity.”
Head coach Lovie Smith talked about Omameh on Tuesday.
“For him to be working with the group, tells you what we think of him and what he’s done right now," Smith said. "I think he’ll be in the mix. I’m anxious to see, but for a lineman, if we talk about some of the wide receivers, some of the DBs [defensive backs], you can probably go a little bit more on what you’ve seen so far, but for a lineman it’s really about some technique without anyone on the other side and you can only get so much from that. We like where he is, he’s done everything, I’m excited about the prospects of him being a good lineman for us, but we need to get to training camp.”
Omameh was not a highly regarded recruit coming out of high school in Ohio, but it didn’t take long for him to make an impact in college. Before it was all over Omameh was selected as a first team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and an honorable mention selection by the media following his senior season in Ann Arbor.
“I’m no stranger to the big stage, to playing in front of big crowds, big time television,” Omameh said. “If anything, that’s made me more aware of what’s at stake and how to prepare for the moment. I became a starter my red-shirt freshman season and maintained that through the end of my final year, but you can be back at the bottom of the totem pole in a minute and that’s something that keeps you humble, keeps you working.
The 6-4, 305-pound Omameh likes what he has seen from this year’s offensive line and also line coach George Warhop.
“It’s a great group of guys [and] great leadership,” Omameh said. “Plenty of guys who have been there and seen it and guys you can turn to both on the field and off the field if you need to. A lot of grit. It’s necessary in the trenches and so that’s something we’re glad to have.
“[Coach Warhop] he’s a guy that’s been there, done that, done so many great things that he can teach me and teach anybody else in that room. So I just keep my eyes and ears open and drink in anything he has to say.”
Adjusting to the NFL hasn’t been easy but Omameh learned much from his high school to college transition.
“For me, it’s been being back at the bottom of the totem pole,” Omameh said. “You work your way up the ladder in college, and now you have to start back and grind your way back up again and make something of yourself.”
Omameh is battling a host of guards to earn the right to start in September including Oniel Cousins, Jamon Meredith, rookie Kadeem Edwards and some other young players. The Ohio native said he is grasping the offense well so far and hopes that gives him an advantage.
“I’d say the offense we have here is similar to some of the offenses I’ve been with in the past and I feel like I’ve done a good job of picking up schemes and different things,” Omameh. “Physically, I feel like I’m pretty athletic and that can only work to help me achieve my goals in this offense.
“There’s always things you can improve on every day. It’s just a matter of putting in the work to make sure you get better. There’s competition all the way across the board as far as I can see and it’s no different on the offensive line. So I’m just trying to make the most of it.
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