Roul­lier ad­just­ing quickly with Red­skins

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY NORA PRINCIOTTI

A typ­i­cal day at train­ing camp for rookie cen­ter Chase Roul­lier be­gins at 7 a.m. He rises and read­ies him­self for a day of prac­tice. The Red­skins have a walk­through, then an af­ter­noon ses­sion that can go as long as three hours. Af­ter all that, Roul­lier will grab a bite and then head to meet­ings. He’ll fin­ish around 10 p.m., then go get some sleep and do it all over again.

The only real chance for a break (or a nap) comes be­tween the walk­through and prac­tice. Roul­lier and the Red­skins’ other young of­fen­sive line­men, though, get less of a breather than most. Of­fen­sive line coach Bill Cal­la­han isn’t big on rest and, for about half an hour af­ter most walk­throughs, runs sev­eral of his charges through ad­di­tional drills.

“He’s kind of a leg­end when it comes to of­fen­sive line in the NFL so any lit­tle ex­tra work you can do with him, it’s go­ing to help you so much so it’s great that he’s willing to even stay out there with us,” Roul­lier said.

It’s a lot of work, but Roul­lier is used to long hours learn­ing about power and lever­age. Ad­just­ing to the NFL is hard, Roul­lier said, but so was play­ing col­lege foot­ball at Wy­oming while com­plet­ing a me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing de­gree.

“Not hav­ing to do any of that and just do foot­ball has been quite a bit of a change for me,” Roul­lier said. “I’m able to de­vote all of my at­ten­tion to one thing now rather than hav­ing to do 50-50 and that’s a pretty big change for me, some­thing that I think has helped me to progress faster than when I was in col­lege.”

Roul­lier played guard un­til his last year at Wy­oming, so the first time he made the tran­si­tion was for his se­nior sea­son. Dur­ing that time, Roul­lier was also work­ing on his se­nior de­sign project: trans­form­ing a gas-pow­ered dune buggy into one that could be pow­ered by elec­tric­ity.

“Pic­ture a GoKart but with big­ger wheels and a higher frame,” Roul­lier in­structed.

The hard­est part of learn­ing to play cen­ter is get­ting used to mak­ing all the line calls. Roul­lier will even­tu­ally get cross-trained at guard with the Red­skins but, for now, it’s one thing at a time.

“You’re hav­ing to go up there and make two, three calls every sin­gle play. So that’s some­thing that I’m ad­just­ing to and some­thing that I’m start­ing to get more com­fort­able with,” Roul­lier said.

There’s no se­cret key to mak­ing those ad­just­ments. They’ll only come with time and lots of reps.

Last Tues­day, the Roul­lier got to work with the first team dur­ing prac­tice be­cause start­ing cen­ter Spencer Long was out sick. The rookie looked com­fort­able and, af­ter a first snap to Cousins looked a lit­tle high, he set­tled in nicely and made no ob­vi­ous mis­takes through­out the day.

“He’s done a great job, he re­ally has,” Jay Gru­den said. “For a rookie to come in here and han­dle all the things he has to han­dle, it’s been very im­pres­sive. Chase has got a ways to go ob­vi­ously but he’s on the right track.

“He’s a true cen­ter. He might have to play a lit­tle bit of guard from time to time. If he’s go­ing to dress on game day, he’s go­ing to have to back up guard and cen­ter. So, we’ll get him go­ing, but the start­ing point is to re­ally find a good cen­ter.”

The other backup cen­ter op­tion is Ron­ald Patrick but see­ing Roul­lier al­most ex­clu­sively fill in for Long con­firmed that he’s the pre­ferred backup.

Roul­lier said that he wants to go back to en­gi­neer­ing once his play­ing days are done, as long as he can do so in a way that’s “busi­ness-ori­ented” in some way as well. For now, though, he’s happy to de­vote him­self to foot­ball and have Cal­la­han be the one tak­ing him to school. If you could get a PhD in of­fen­sive line, Cal­la­han would have one.

“Every coach you go to is go­ing to have their lit­tle dif­fer­ences and tech­nique,” Roul­lier said. “Coach Cal ob­vi­ously has so much ex­pe­ri­ence that he has some very good ones out there, and he’s al­ways talk­ing about var­i­ous sem­i­nars that he goes to for of­fen­sive line. I’m guess­ing most of the time he’s teach­ing those things but I’m sure he picks up lit­tle things here and there that he’s able to then try out with us and it helps us in our game.”

Wash­ing­ton Red­skins rookie cen­ter Chase Roul­lier is used to long hours learn­ing about power and lever­age. His de­gree from Wy­oming is in me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing.

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