Center? Guard? Colts Jonotthan Harrison Just Happy to Help
Indianapolis Colts center Jonotthan Harrison has been transitioning to a new position this offseason, as he’s been taking reps at right guard for the team early on.
With the Colts having selected Ryan Kelly in the 1st round to play center, Harrison will likely have to learn a new position in order to return to the starting lineup on a long-term basis.
The 3rd-year offensive lineman is simply looking to compete and happy to help the Colts in whatever position he may ultimately end up at:
"“It feels really good to get back out there instead of just running around, but I’m really looking forward to it and enjoying every day I’m here,” said Harrison. “I’m here to compete either way,’’ added Harrison. “I’m just here to compete. You never know what’s going to happen, but either way my goal is to have a starting role in this offensive line.’’"
Harrison actually made his first career start with the University of Florida at guard, but since then he started 38 games in 4 seasons for the Gators at center.
The Colts have played him exclusively at center during his first 2 seasons in Indianapolis, where he’s made 19 career starts in the middle of the team’s offensive line.
With limited experience at his new position, there’s been a bit of a learning curve for Harrison:
"“Guard definitely is a little bit different,’’ said Harrison. “Each day I feel myself getting more comfortable with the position and recalling different techniques used to play the position.”“It’s a little different, a little more spacing, different rules and everything going on,” added Harrison. “Playing center, I understand all the rules at all the positions. It’s just going to take practice, film, film study, correcting myself, and just working on any weakness that I may have at the position.’’"
However, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has so far been encouraged by the 24 year old’s progress:
"“Yeah, Jon’s played there before, and he’s got position flexibility,” said Pagano Tuesday at OTA’s. “He’s a smart guy, and he gives us a chance to go in there because of his awareness, F.B.I. (i.e. football intelligence), and things like that to go in and operate with some guys down. So he’s doing a nice job.”"
While Harrison made mental lapses at center–specifically with ill-timed snaps or blown assignments, he has great strength and could theoretically be a mauler in the ground game at guard for the Colts. His new position could free him up to simply play, having less responsibility along the offensive line in regards to snapping and setting protections at center.
If nothing else, it should give the Colts added flexibility in the interior of their offensive line should injuries or underperformance arise. It’s the equivalent of a shortstop that can also play second base, which is always music to a manager’s ears.
Whether Harrison ultimately ends up starting at right guard for the Colts remains to be seen; however, the early signs have been encouraging.