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Bucs’ Kevin Pamphile ready if needed again at left tackle

By Greg Auman
Bucs lineman Kevin Pamphile, shown celebrating in the win against the Bears, could step in at left tackle Sunday if Donovan Smith can't play. (LOREN ELLIOTT | TIMES)

Kevin Pamphile has played left guard all season, but when Donovan Smith was lost to a knee injury Sunday, it didn't take him long to feel comfortable playing left tackle for the second half.

"It's like riding a bike," said Pamphile, 26, who has spent most of his NFL career at guard but played left tackle his last two years at Purdue. "First couple of plays, I felt uneasy because I hadn't backpedaled like that in a while, but it came back to me, and I got comfortable. If they (want) me to play tackle this week, I'm ready to go."

Smith did not practice Wednesday, nor did right tackle Demar Dotson, and it's unknown whether either will be available Sunday against the Jets. Pamphile filled in one game at right tackle last year when Dotson was out, and versatility to handle both guard and tackle has been one of his strengths.

"To get in the league, you have to do more. There's definitely a demand for it," said Pamphile, who started his college career at Purdue as a defensive lineman before shifting to offense.

Pamphile has split time at left guard with Evan Smith all season, with Pamphile starting all but one game but Smith actually playing 11 more total snaps. Pamphile is an unrestricted free agent next spring, and the chance to showcase himself at a second position can help his value should the Bucs allow him to get to the open market.

Pamphile said tackles have more time to adjust to an oncoming defender, while guards must be ready for impact at the snap of the ball. A tackle has more space to work in, while a guard must hold his own in tight quarters.

"At the same time, the main thing at tackle and guard is you want to dominate the man in front of you," he said.