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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

LT Dotson will be 'the best player' he can be if called upon to start



Left tackle Demar Dotson is short on NFL experience and maybe confidence.

The converted basketball player and defensive tackle from Southern Miss is taking all the reps with the Bucs' first-team offense with the holdout of starting left tackle Donald Penn, who has missed the off-season workouts in a contract dispute.

Following the Monday morning practice at the Bucs mandatory minicamp, Dotson doubted whether he was a starting left tackle in the NFL. In fact, he has never started a game as a pro.

But while he said he's surprised to be in this position, Dotson plans to take full advantage of the opportunity.

"All I can say is I'm going to go out there and do the best I can do,'' Dotson said. "If I have to start when it comes to Game 1, I'm going to be the best player I can be in the short time I've had. I'm going to be the best player I can be.

"It's a surprise, but it's a job. You've got to do your job the best you can. That's all you can do is get out here and work at it. It's like anything, if you work hard every day, you're going to get better.''

Of course, it's impossible to evaluate Dotson, or any other lineman for that matter, during the off-season because full contact is not permitted. On Monday afternoon, Dotson was called for offensive holding during a two-minute drill.

"You can't make those mental mistakes, you've got to be focused in on everything,'' Dotson said."One play can kill a drive.''

Bucs coach Raheem Morris said Dotson was just being 'humble,' by questioning his game readiness.

"I think Demar is a very humble young man,'' Morris said. "You're talking about a guy who played one year, really, of college football. He came out here and did a great job with us and made our football team, not as a practice squad player but as a 53-man member. He played right tackle last year, was asked to get the reps at left tackle this year. He's a humble young man who's keeping his head down and just grinding.

"His time will be tested once he gets to the preaseason and once he gets to live bullets and we look forward to it.''

[Last modified: Monday, July 19, 2010 2:42pm]


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