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Vasquez embracing new challenge

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Casey Pearce
    Posted Jun 17, 2009

    After playing in Texas Tech’s wide-open offense in college, Chargers guard Louis Vasquez is learning a completely new offense, but it’s one he likes and his coaches believe he can master.

    In the months leading up to the draft, Chargers guard Louis Vasquez[​IMG] could have easily grown tired of the questions regarding his ability to transition from the wide-open, spread offense he played in at Texas Tech to a more conventional pro-style attack.
    Instead, he simply embraced the challenge.

    “That was the number-one issue that I heard at the Combine and all the stuff before the draft,” Vasquez said. “Can he run block? Can he come out of a three-point stance? Football is football at the end of the day.

    Obviously somebody thought enough of my talents to give me a chance. All you’ve got to do is learn it and I’m working really hard and feel like I’m picking things up.”

    The transition has required several adjustments. In college, he was often split as much as three feet away from the center, whereas the Chargers’ guards generally line up much tighter. The wide splits regularly left Texas Tech’s offensive linemen in one-on-one situations, whereas NFL running games utilize a heavy dose of combination blocks.

    When the pass-heavy Red Raiders did run the ball behind Vasquez and company, they mostly utilized draws and sweeps, while the pro systems are more downhill. And Vasquez played primarily in a two-point stance in college as opposed to the three-point position he’ll set up in with the Chargers.

    “Pass protection is a little different as well because we don’t get as much depth here,” Vasquez said. “They run a lot of ‘power’ here. The first day was a bit of a transition for me because of the splits. I’m used to being out on an island. After that first day, I got comfortable and starting rolling. I’m having fun with it.”

    While the offense is new to Vasquez, it’s one he and the Chargers believe the 6-5, 325-pounder can thrive in.

    “I think people get caught up in what system players played in and I don’t,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “I think good players are good players. He hasn’t had an opportunity to run block a lot. He needs to play in a three-point stance more. It’s a transition, but there’s no reason he shouldn’t be an outstanding football player.

    At February’s Scouting Combine, he completed 39 reps on the 225-pound bench press drill, five more reps than any other lineman in Indianapolis. Coaches have been impressed with Vasquez’s athleticism and physicality. He’ll get to put those attributes to use regularly as he’s asked to pull and set the tone on the interior. Vasquez has already started to enjoy some of the new things he’s being asked to do.

    “I pulled some in college, but coming out here and getting a head start to hit somebody is going to be fun,” Vasquez said.

    During Offseason Coaching Sessions, Vasquez has spent most of his time working at right guard with the second-team offense. He also spent some time with the first unit, an experience that showed him just how fast things move at the NFL level.

    Luis Castillo[​IMG] is quick,” Vasquez said. “I got beat a couple times. Trying to compete with him really pushed me. This whole offseason program has helped me get better, but I felt like those days were really good for me.”

    When asked Wednesday about his aspirations of becoming a starter, Vasquez gave a humble response and simply said he hopes that happens some day. Turner, however, has been impressed with Vasquez and sees a “real competitive situation” brewing between Vasquez and veteran Kynan Forney[​IMG] during training camp.

    “Our scouts did a great job evaluating and gave us a good idea of his strengths and weaknesses and he’s come in and been everything we’d hoped. He’s a big, physical guy. He has a lot of work to do like all young guys do. Kynan is the starter now and I imagine they’ll have a heck of a battle during training camp."


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