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Pryor focused on fullback

Posted Jul 1, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars rookie fullback Lonnie Pryor likes scheme, opportunity: "The next step is training camp"

JACKSONVILLE – He is ready, and believes he is able.

When it comes to Lonnie Pryor, the rookie fullback many expect to have a chance to make the Jaguars’ roster this season as an undrafted free agent, that doesn’t mean he is cocky or brash.

But prepared? Yes, Pryor – who played collegiately at Florida State – said that although he still has work to do and progress to make after a month of organized team activities and two minicamps he absolutely believes he is prepared for what lies ahead.

And he believes he is ready to perform well come training camp.

“I’m very confident,” Pryor said recently as the Jaguars’ rookies wrapped up their portion of 2013 offseason training and activities at EverBank Field. “I still don’t know the playbook like I will. I know the base stuff and mostly all the fullback stuff, and when I’m out there on the field I feel comfortable with what I’m doing.”

Learning the playbook, and getting prepared to compete in preseason and training camp, is pretty much what organized team activities and minicamps are about. That’s true for most players, but it’s particularly true at certain positions.

Offensive line, defensive line . . . those positions are contact-oriented positions. If it’s generally difficult to judge much in terms of a players separating and proving himself in minicamps and OTAs, it’s really true at those spots.

Pryor said you can put his position in that category, too.

“If you’re a fullback, it’s tough,” Pryor said. “If you were playing running back, you could run the ball and show coaches you can do that. With fullback, you’re mainly here just for blocking. Not having pads on, you’re really just kind of fitting up. You really can’t show your technique, if you can move a guy or block a guy, so it’s tough in OTAs.

“Hopefully, once training camp comes and I can get the pads on, I can show what I can do.”

LONNIE PRYOR PHOTO GALLERY

Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley spoke positively of Pryor throughout the offseason, and mentioned early in the offseason the possibility of playing Pryor as a feature back at times. Bradley said bigger backs can be effective in the Jaguars’ new zone-blocking scheme, and said Pryor could play that role.

Pryor, a four-year letterman at Florida State, started 18 games in college, and while his role primarily was a blocker, he rushed for 718 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 5.9 yards per carry. He also caught 13 passes for 117 yards as a senior.

But if the Jaguars are thinking he can play a more diversified role, Pryor’s not letting himself focus on that possibility. He said his focus during the offseason was on fullback, and he said that’s where it remains.

“I haven’t heard him say that,” Pryor said of Bradley, laughing. “Everybody’s dream is to be the running back, but as of now, I’m doing what they want me to do and that’s play fullback and do things at that position. If they want to throw me in there, I’ll be more than happy to do it.”

Pryor’s focus is on a position that will be in the spotlight come training camp, and one that is undergoing significant change this offseason.

The Jaguars this offseason allowed long-time veteran Greg Jones, long one of the NFL’s better blocking fullbacks, to sign with the Houston Texans as a free agent. They also released veteran Montell Owens, which means that with a little more than three weeks remaining until training camp, Pryor and second-year veteran Will Ta’ufo’ou are the only fullbacks on the roster.

While many teams in the NFL have de-emphasized the fullback position, and while the Jaguars’ new offensive scheme will utilize the fullback differently than past schemes, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said earlier in the offseason that the scheme is very fullback friendly.

Pryor said he ran essentially the same system the past four seasons, particularly in the running game.

“It’s the same scheme we ran at Florida State,” Pryor said. “It’s pretty easy. They point the Mike (middle linebacker) and you always have the next guy over. We didn’t run the same pass game, but the run game is the same.”

And while the work has been put in, and while that work gave him confidence, he said it’s time for the next and most important step.

“I’m very confident about my position,” he said. “The playbook, I don’t know well enough yet, and that’s why I keep learning and getting better every day. But I’m very confident in my ability and what I can do on the field.

“OTAs were exciting. I learned a lot, and got to meet all the players and everything, but the next step is training camp. I’m excited for that and ready for that.”

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