Forced to play left tackle, Bucs' Demar Dotson tries to catch on quickly
Demar Dotson’s experience level at left tackle isn’t what you might call extensive. In fact, he has almost no history of playing the position.
But that’s changed quite a bit in the past few days, when Dotson has consistently taken the first-team snaps in place of injured Donald Penn (calf). Having played almost exclusively right tackle in the past, Dotson is preparing to potentially enter the preseason as the protector of quarterback Josh Freeman’s blind side.
Dotson did a limited amount of left-tackle work in the offseason, on his own, and the former basketball player at Southern Miss has nimble feet and good athleticism.
But whether that adequately prepares him to face accomplished pass rushers like Miami’s Cameron Wake, who Dotson could face in the preseason opener, is another matter.
“It is a big leap,” Dotson said. “Skill wise, I have quick feet and I can move and I can stay in front of guys, but it’s a lot more than that. If you just stayed in front of people and moved your feet, that won’t get it done. It takes a whole lot more than that, but I’m working at it every day.
“The more chances I get to play, the more snaps I get and the more I work with the team, the better I get. I haven’t even played a game yet.”
Dotson’s experience level at left tackle isn’t the only thing he’s short on. He’s played very little football in comparison to most of his teammates. Dotson played one year of defensive line at Southern Miss after using up his basketball eligibility.
The Bucs took a chance on him as an offensive tackle, and nearly four years later, he’s still here, trying to make his mark.
“For me, everything is new,” said Dotson, 26. “I’m a fourth-year guy, but experience-wise, I have less experience than the whole offensive-line room. Most of these guys come in and have been playing offensive line for 10 years. I come in and I’ve only been playing for four. I learn from anybody. I learn from rookies, coaches, everybody.”
With Penn out for multiple weeks, the Bucs need Dotson to soak up as much as he can.