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Yeatman Still Adjusting To Switch From Tight End To Tackle

Posted Aug 2, 2012

There are plenty of instances of players being asked to move from one side of the offensive or defensive line to the other or from the outside to the slot as a wide receiver. Switching positions is another matter.

Will Yeatman had been a tight end for his entire career going back to high school and also was an accomplished lacrosse player at the University of Maryland. But the extent of his experience as an offensive lineman was limited to one year in high school, yet the Miami Dolphins are asking him to make the switch to offensive tackle.

“I love it and I think it’s really good, though I obviously miss my fellow tight ends,” said Yeatman, who made two starts and three appearances last year for Miami primarily as a blocking tight end. “But it’s been good so far. I’ve got a lot of learning to do and it’s been a big learning curve, especially technically speaking in terms of blocking and getting my hands in the right places. It’s a lot of growing and I have a lot of learning to do.”

Back in minicamps and OTAs, Yeatman still wore his No. 89 jersey was out there running pass routes with Anthony Fasano, Charles Clay, Jeron Mastrud and rookies Michael Egnew and Les Brown. Head Coach Joe Philbin, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and offensive line coach Jim Turner approached Yeatman about the possibility of making the switch to tackle shortly after the end of mandatory minicamp in mid-June.

When the players reported to training camp last Thursday to get ready for Friday’s first practice, Yeatman had a new No. 60 jersey. The switch was now official and he took his place with the rest of the offensive linemen in the stretching line, a place he had not been since his days at Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego.

“I played tackle my sophomore year of high school because I had a shoulder injury and I had a shoulder harness,” Yeatman said. “I was a tight end but they just put me at tackle, so that was the only time I’ve ever played offensive line. But I feel comfortable with it and I feel like I’m getting better every play and that’s what I’ve got to be able to do. I think that’s why they saw some potential for me playing offensive tackle, so it’s been good so far.”

Yeatman did not point to the urge to resist going out for a pass as the toughest part about this position switch, and he confirmed that he has been getting a lot of help from Turner, Jake Long and the rest of the offensive line room.

What it’s coming down to for the 6-foot-6, 270-pound former Terrapin is what anyone would expect it to come down to when making this kind of adjustment – fundamentals.

“I think the hardest part is the mechanics of it,” Yeatman said. “There are some things that you have to know how to do as an offensive lineman that don’t feel completely natural athletically, but you have to drill it into yourself so it does feel natural. And that might take a little bit of time to do but I’m in the process of doing that and it’s going well.”