Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs' guard hopes to make a name for himself

TAMPA — To understand how Patrick Omameh is making a name for himself as the player to beat at right guard for the Bucs, just listen to his head coach.

Lovie Smith's praise of the second-year lineman hasn't changed since Saturday's preseason game, but his pronunciation of the 24-year-old's last name has evolved.

Sunday, it was uh-MOH-me. Monday, it was oh-MOH-may, and the coach stopped himself.

"First off, I need to figure out how to pronounce everyone's name," said Smith, repeating it correctly — oh-MAH-may — as he praised the son of Nigerian immigrants.

In a guard competition that has changed direction several times, Omameh is an unexpected leader. He lacks the experience of Jamon Meredith — now relegated to second-string tackle — or the investment placed by the Bucs in fifth-round draft pick Kadeem Edwards, now battling for a backup role.

But ask teammates about Omameh, and they see intelligence — he was recruited out of high school by MIT and Princeton — and strength, having added 50 pounds to his frame in his five years at Michigan.

"He's always been strong. Crazy strong," said his college quarterback and current Jaguar Denard Robinson, happy to see Omameh after the teams met Aug. 8. "He's going to be one of the smartest guys on the team, and he's going to battle his tail off. He'll fight 'til he can't fight anymore. He empties his tank out there."

Omameh, pulled out of Columbus, Ohio, by the rival Wolverines, start 41 consecutive games at right guard at Michigan. He wasn't drafted last year and was among the 49ers' final cuts, then spent a month on their practice squad before the Bucs grabbed him in October. He didn't play, only dressing out for one game.

"Pat has earned every opportunity he's gotten," right tackle Demar Dotson said. "He comes in here and works every day. He's a physical, smart young guy that deserves the opportunity. He makes the right calls, plays physically and plays hard."

Omameh stepped in at right guard Saturday against Miami and the line was much improved. He'll need to repeat that Saturday in what should be a longer showing at Buffalo, but right guard is a position that has become very natural for the 6-foot-4, 304-pounder.

"A lot of things are body-learned, are instinctual when it comes to playing a certain position," Omameh said. "There's a comfort level with reaction that's ingrained after you spend a certain amount of time doing one thing. It's a position I've definitely grown comfortable with."

In the offseason, Omameh trained in Arizona with former Saints center LeCharles Bentley, a two-time Pro Bowl player who runs an "O-Line Performance" facility, catering specifically to NFL offensive linemen. Omameh left stronger, but just as important, improved his technique by working with a committed group of about 25 linemen.

"I feel better physically, better as far as having a conceptual understanding of the game," Omameh said. "I feel it's a great advantage to work with somebody who knows the game and has played the game at such an elite level. It steered me in the right direction."

With uncertainty about the Bucs' guard play, there has been speculation Tampa Bay might try to trade for 49ers holdout Alex Boone, San Francisco's starting right guard the past two seasons. As it turns out, Boone and Omameh are close friends and even worked out together this offseason — Boone's emergence in San Francisco last summer is a reason why Omameh was released, and why he's with the Bucs now.

For now, the Bucs are moving forward with optimism about the guards they have, and Omameh is making a solid impression on the rest of the line.

"He goes about it as a professional," Bucs center Evan Dietrich-Smith said. "Pat's kind of a quiet guy. He's strong, a lot more athletic than people probably give him credit for. He does a lot of good things. He's smart out there, doesn't really make too many mistakes. … Every guy has something that we can clean up a little bit, and we'll be working on that coming into this third game, to go out and have another good showing."

Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 226-3346. Follow @gregauman.

>>Up next

Bucs at Bills

4:30 p.m. Saturday, Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo

TV/radio: Ch. 8, NFL Network, 620-AM

Bucs' guard hopes to make a name for himself 08/18/14 [Last modified: Monday, August 18, 2014 8:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends

    Bucs

    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.