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A perfect 'Oklahoma'

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Keith from Lakewood, PA:
Do you see any undrafted guys with a shot at making the roster?

Vic: I think you're always going to have an undrafted guy or two stick with the Jaguars, as long as Jack Del Rio is the head coach. Del Rio is ultra-big on training camp competition and no players represent the coach's stance on competition better than undrafted free agents on your roster. It's very smart for a coach to keep undrafted guys because it helps you attract undrafted free agents and sell them on the potential for making the roster. If you have a roster that doesn't have an undrafted guy on it, how are you going to convince free agents to sign with your team? Right now, I think there are three guys in this year's crop of undrafted players who have strong chances of sticking with the Jaguars. Richard Collier, Brian Iwuh and Tony McDaniel are leading the charge right now.

Rob from Jacksonville:
I know it's early, but what do you think of Marcedes Lewis? Will he be the impact player the Jags are hoping for at the tight end position?

Vic: When fans talk about tight ends making an impact, they're always referring to the passing game. In that case, there's no doubt in my mind Lewis is going to make an impact. I think he's going to be Byron Leftwich's favorite target. Last evening, however, we saw another way in which Lewis might make an impact: as a blocker. Jack Del Rio had been saying since before the draft that the Jaguars believe Lewis can be a strong and effective blocker, and in Monday evening's "Oklahoma" Lewis proved Del Rio right. Lewis handled Reggie Hayward.

Jacques from Alexandria, VA:
I was wondering if tight ends are officially/technically called offensive linemen. In your article yesterday, you termed Lewis as the Jags' highest-drafted offensive lineman.

Vic: Lewis was in the "Oklahoma," wasn't he? That's a drill for blockers and tacklers. That's a drill for players involved in the running game. Technically, tight ends are not considered to be offensive linemen, but when the tight end is blocking a defensive end or linebacker, what's the difference between what he's doing and what a tackle is doing? I consider a tight end to be an offensive lineman who can catch the ball.

Roger from Austin, TX:
I just finished watching an NFL Network tribute to the Houston Oilers of the early 1990's, with their highly efficient run-and-shoot offense. I know you're a big proponent of the running game, but that offensive scheme looked to be almost unstoppable at the time. Can you tell me whatever happened to that offense? Was it a casualty of rules changes, or did defenses simply adapt to it and figure it out over time?

Vic: You couldn't win with it in cold-weather postseason games; too much finesse, not enough muscle. The run-and-shoot didn't have a tight end. Whatever success it had running the ball was the result of spreading the field. When it got down inside the red zone, especially near the goal line, it lacked the ability to power the ball into the end zone. It was a pretty offense, but couldn't get it done. The classic example of its lack of muscle was its inability to run the ball, kill the clock and protect the big halftime lead it had in Buffalo in the 1992 playoffs. Sissy offense usually has a way of contaminating its companion defense, too. At least Buddy Ryan believes that.

Kyle from Charleston, IL:
So how did Mike Williams do in the "Oklahoma" drill last night?

Vic: He was a human snowplow. Williams got his pads under Marcellus Wiley and pushed him off the ball with ease. It was so easy to see what someone would see in Williams to make him the fourth pick of the draft. He has the potential to be a dominant run-blocker; the consummate road-grader. If he keeps his weight down and dedicates himself to re-claiming his football career, Williams could be a major find for the Jaguars. It's up to him. I think he knows that.

Chris from St Augustine, FL:
What do you think about Saban's decision to decline the President's invitation to dinner?

Vic: Nick Saban is another hard-working, dedicated member of the Kent State class of 1973. We have more important things to do.

Derek from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Can you tell us anything about Matt Jones' ankle injury on Monday night?

Vic: Jack Del Rio will tell us more today, but it's expected to be a mild sprain.

Joe from Pontypridd, Wales, UK:
I hope you enjoyed the "Oklahoma" drill. What was your favorite moment?

Vic: Khalif Barnes had a loud takedown. That was probably the feature moment, but the whole thing was a feature moment of training camp. Jack Del Rio ran a classic "Oklahoma." He had it all: spirited coaches; two big blocking bags instead of those stupid cones some coaches use; the drill and the players were positioned for optimum viewing by fans; it was perfect length. I take my hat off to coach Del Rio for a masterful job. As far as I'm concerned, training camp isn't a training camp if it doesn't have an "Oklahoma." It's an ice-breaker. It's a player-bonder. It's fun for everyone. So passes another "Oklahoma" in which no one was injured. I have never seen or heard of a player being injured in an "Oklahoma." I've witnessed lots of players being injured in conditioning drills, but never one in an "Oklahoma." I've also never seen a team draw fans for conditioning runs, but the "Oklahoma" will fill it up, as it did last evening at Alltel Stadium. Everybody was outstanding: the players, coaches and fans. At one point, I saw Wayne Weaver standing to the side of the action with a big smile on his face. What's not to like?

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