08-12-2006, 03:02 PM #1Jersey Retired
- Join Date
- Dec 1969
Artis Hicks sees his job from a new angle
[size=18px]Artis Hicks sees his job from a new angle[/size]
Judd Zulgad, Star Tribune
MANKATO - Imagine beginning a new job and being told one of the requirements is to start writing with your nondominant hand. Seem like an unreasonable, not to mention outrageous, request?
To a large degree that is what the Vikings are asking offensive lineman Artis Hicks to do this season. Acquired in an offseason trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, Hicks has been shifted from left to right guard. That means hand and footwork moves that came naturally now have to be given some thought.
"The last four years I've been learning how to step with my left foot first and make sure my left hand is outside. Now it's the opposite," he said. "Your body is telling you, 'This doesn't feel right, do it the other way.' But mentally you've just got to keep fighting it and retrain yourself."For example," Hicks continued, "when I slide to the right and block the three-technique [defensive lineman] my brain is telling me, 'Hey, your feet are wrong, do your feet the other way.' Because that's what feels comfortable. It's just a matter of repetitions. It will come."
Considering his options, Hicks certainly isn't complaining about being asked to make the move. The Vikings gave free agent Steve Hutchinson $16 million in guaranteed money to play left guard, so if Hicks wanted to start, the right side was the only place where a job opening existed.
Coach Brad Childress, the former Eagles offensive coordinator, thought enough of Hicks' abilities that the 27-year-old was named the starting right guard shortly after being obtained on draft weekend.
Hicks, entering his fifth season, started 31 of the 38 games he played for the Eagles. He has played both guard and tackle in the NFL, but always on the left side. Last season, Hicks started 12 games at guard before moving to tackle for the final two games. The last time Hicks lined up on the right side was during his sophomore season at Memphis.
"When [you] played on the left side that long, you get used to putting your weight a certain way and for all the looks to come a certain way," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "So now he switches it over, he's got to be able to switch his weight, put his weight on a different foot. The rushes come at him a little bit different. He's doing a nice job making the transition."
Childress points out that Hicks is getting valuable experience in practice because he is frequently matched up against Kevin Williams. "He's arguably the best defensive tackle in the game, and if you go against the best on a regular basis it's going to kind of make everybody else seem a little easier," said the 6-4, 335-pound Hicks.
Williams senses Hicks has become more comfortable at right guard as training camp has progressed.
"It's going to be difficult on anybody changing positions and you're used to playing another one for so long," Williams said. "For the most part, he's doing pretty good and holding his own."
Veteran Jason Whittle also has been impressed. Whittle knows exactly what Hicks is going through. He played right tackle in college at Southwest Missouri State but was moved to left guard when he entered the NFL in 1998.
"Not only are your plays flip-flopped and stuff -- that's actually the easy part -- the hard part is that now you've got to tilt to one side," said Whittle, who is primarily being used as the Vikings' backup center. "You've got all your weight balanced on your inside foot and it's opposite. It's kind of like learning to drive a car on the [opposite side] of the road. Some guys have an easier time with it than others. Hicks seems like he's doing a great job with it. You've got to commend him for that. He's jumped in at full speed and really worked at it."Kentucky Vikes Fan
When you require nothing, you get nothing; when you expect nothing, you will find nothing; when you embrace nothing, all you will have is nothing.
08-14-2006, 02:17 PM #2
Re: Artis Hicks sees his job from a new angle
Hicks is taking this very well.. He understood that with the Vikes signing Hutch, that he really had no chance to start on the left side.. He knew that if he was going to be a starter, that it would be on the right side of the line.. I am sure he understands that if he gets this down, that is at least 3 positions that he can play on the OL.. That is a really good trait to have..
08-14-2006, 02:21 PM #3
Re: Artis Hicks sees his job from a new angle
this was already posted at least once, if not twice
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