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CHARGERS : LB James Holt proving to be one versatile Bolt

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    BY SCOTT BAIR - sbair@nctimes.com | Posted: August 7, 2010 8:54 pm

    SAN DIEGO -- James Holt is a linebacker through and through.

    He grew up on the outside, predominantly focused on rushing the passer. At Kansas, coaches switched him to the inside, where he stuffed running backs.

    The Chargers had a different idea. They moved Holt back outside, which -- along with excellent special teams play -- helped him make the 53-man roster last year.

    But a season-ending Achilles' tendon tear suffered by third-round draft pick Donald Butler early in training camp forced the Chargers to shift Holt again.

    Butler was expected to back up Kevin Burnett at weakside inside linebacker, but his injury derailed that prospect. Burnett himself is injury prone, which means the Chargers needed a reliable backup.

    They admired Holt's versatility and, with his experience on the inside, he was a perfect candidate to make the switch.

    "It's not too much different," Holt said. "I worked outside and then inside in college, so I've been through the transition before. It's more a matter of getting your steps down than anything. It's not that hard once you immerse yourself in it."

    Holt went undrafted, without serious prospects of making the 53-man roster. He earned a spot on special teams, and is now in line for significant playing time.
    "Special teams has always been my meal ticket, even when I was at Kansas," Holt said. "I take it very seriously. It can change the tempo at any point in time, so I'm glad to be a part of it."

    Special teams won't be Holt's main focus this season, as he devours the playbook and the subtle nuances of each position.

    "James can play a bunch of different spots," Chargers coach Norv Turner said. "He's a smart guy and a very natural football player. He's played inside and outside, but I'd love to pin him into one spot. I'd love for it to be inside, but we'll see how he does playing a number of different positions."

    Reserve inside linebackers are critical in the Chargers' defensive. Brandon Siler and Tim Dobbins fared well last season and were an integral part of their 13-3 regular-season record.

    Holt prides himself on having made a career out of hard work.

    "Coming in as a free agent, you have to scrap for everything you get," Holt said. "That's what I did. I went hard all the time, got into the preseason games and worked hard to get myself on the team."

    Green is a utility lineman

    Much like Holt, Tyronne Green is a versatile talent. He played guard and center last season, but he moved over to tackle when the Chargers were in a position of need.

    Brandyn Dombrowski sat out on Saturday with a muscle strain, and with Marcus McNeill withholding services in protest of his contract status, Green slid over to left tackle.

    "Tyronne Green has worked all over the place," Turner said. "He's a good young player. In a perfect world, you'd lock him up in one spot, but we need him in a utility role right now. The diversity will make him extremely valuable during the season."

    Fast Fest has purpose

    Saturday's Fan Fest was valuable beyond giving fans a chance to see the team in action for free at Qualcomm Stadium. It also gave players a taste of preseason games in terms of atmosphere

    "Wednesday night (when the team practiced at Qualcomm) was great," Turner said. "Today was even better. It's important for our young players to work in this environment. It gives them a game atmosphere they can't get anywhere else."

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