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Bucs’ rookie guard Ali Marpet is promoted to first team

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Rookie guard Ali Marpet is a first-teamer.

Marpet was promoted before Thursday’s practice to right guard by the Tampa Bay Bucs, leading to hope that perhaps the team can rebuild its offensive line, after all. Marpet was a second-round draft pick, and being moved to the first time less than a week into camp is a good sign.

“Just like we talk about Jameis or any of the young players, that’s a part of it,” said coach Lovie Smith. “For Ali, there is no better place for him. I mean (defensive tackle) Gerald McCoy is on the other side. He’s having to get up the pace pretty quick. He did some good things out there today. I’m very pleased with where he is. Definitely not too big for him.”

Marpet said he struggled some with the heat, but except for that, things were good.

“Going against Gerald was something else,” Marpet said. “If you can block him, you’re going to be able to block a lot of other guys in the league, so it’s awesome having a guy like him against you every play. He got me a whole lot, but knowing that I can get him if I am technically sound is huge for me.”

McCoy gave passing marks to Marpet.

I think he has all the makings to be a really good guard in this league. Obviously he made some rookie mistakes, but that’s to be expected. Overall, he definitely has what it takes to be a starting guard in the league.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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