Assistant Offensive Line Coach Ben Wilkerson
April 4, 2018
Q: I'm trying to wrap my head around the transition in going from left tackle to right tackle and what's involved. I know we talk about footwork, I've heard about landmarks. Can you shed a little bit more light on exactly what goes into that kind of a transition?
A: Well, when you have a person that has played left tackle for a while, there's a lot of mechanics that are kind of set in place and to make that transition, it takes a little time, it takes a little transition, but it's more so about your willingness to make the transition and willingness to push through some of the hard times. It's not going to be as seamless for some as it is to others, but it can be done. It's been done throughout the league and throughout the history of this game. It's just about your mentality and your approach to making that transition. So, of course the technique is involved, the body mechanics, footwork, all the way up to hand placement. It's not different than any other position and all those things have to be continued to be taught and reinforced and it can be done.
Q: Is it easier to go from left guard to right guard?
A: Sometimes it can be, I'll say that and again, it's all about the player and what they're able to do and what their mindset is when it comes to making that transition. Again, it's been shown that it's been easier for some and harder for others, so I don't want to sit here and say that it's easier from a guard position compared to a tackle position, it all depends on the player at the end of the day.
Q: Do you look at the talent and say, 'Okay, you know what? Based on what we're seeing and what we've been drilling, maybe this is going to be a better zone block team as opposed to a power block team.' Do you have that kind of input and do you base what you're going to contribute to the overall plan based on what you see or do you go in with a set mindset?
A: Well, at the end of the day you always want to try to establish an identity from a scheme, from an offensive line room as far as what you're good at and what you want to hang your hat on from a game plan standpoint. We won't know that for certain until we get the players in and find out exactly what we're able to do, whether it be a zone scheme, gap scheme, more power stuff, more outside zone stuff. All of those things play a part and our approach is to evaluate the guys once they step into the building, and see what we have, and what they're able to do and we'll put together the best game plan possible with the players that we do have.
Q: You were a former offensive lineman. Do you feel like you have a perspective that you can bring to these guys as you coach them?
A: It definitely does help. In my short experience that I've had coaching in this league, I've had a great relationship and great rapport with the players that I've worked with. My playing experience did help as far as building a bridge between the player and coach relationship and they would always come to me with questions, 'What did you do here? How did you see this when you did it?' Having that experience to draw from definitely helps and it helps to build the relationship that you need to be a successful O-line coach and to help develop a successful offensive line room.