Ugoh Wants to Make Most of Second Chance

OL Tony Ugoh (AP/David J. Phillip)

It's probably safe to say that Tony Ugoh is finally close to reaching his comfort level. The fourth-year offensive lineman from Arkansas admittedly began his career with plenty of pressure on his large shoulders. He was selected in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft and immediately placed in the starting lineup as the replacement for Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tarik Glenn.

Glenn had been a stalwart for Indianapolis for 10 seasons, starting at left tackle and being the primary back-side protector of quarterback Peyton Manning. His surprise retirement following the Colts' Super Bowl XLI win put the team in a quandary.

Indianapolis officials had hoped that Glenn would play one more season and be able to serve as a tutor to Ugoh, grooming him to eventually take over the position. But things didn't happen that way.

Ugoh eventually wound up out of the lineup in 2009, being replaced by Charlie Johnson as the starter. Johnson — who has seen playing both at offensive guard and right tackle — played relatively well last year and he's the starter going into the 2010 season.

Ugoh struggled with injuries for a couple of seasons. He suggested to the Colts' coaching staff during the offseason that he wouldn't mind moving inside to offensive guard. He just wanted a chance to prove himself again.

Ugoh has worked himself into contention for a starting job at either offensive guard position. He's been rotating with Mike Pollak, Kyle DeVan, and Jamey Richard. So far, the results are almost all positive.

"He's coming along. Looking back on last year, he was really making strides. And in the spring as well. He's a flexible guy in terms of his ability — he can play both guard and tackle. So we're really trying to find a home for him and exactly where he's going to fit in in the grand scheme of things. He's doing very well," Colts' coach Jim Caldwell said.

One thing that has probably helped Ugoh as much as anything so far this year is the fact that Pete Metzelaars is now Indianapolis' offensive line coach.

With Mudd leaving and Metzelaars moving up from his assistant offensive line coaching position, Ugoh is getting a second chance to show what he can do.

"It's just getting coached a little different. Especially with Pete. He's worked with me a lot," Ugoh said. "And Ron's worked with me a lot just to get me ready. Other than just getting things from a different perspective and a different point of view, that's pretty much it.

"I'm out here and I'm just trying to have fun. I think coming into (the NFL), I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think that pretty much hurt me. I just forgot that this is a game and at the end of the day, to just come out here and have fun. If I give it all I have, at the end of the day that's pretty much all I can do."

Ugoh is making the most of his second chance.

"I think the competition is pretty keen, and I think he's up to it," Caldwell said.


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