O. J. Brigance has gone back to linebacker school, where re-learning old habits has presented him with another challenge.
Brigance, who broke into the Canadian Football League as a linebacker for British Columbia in 1991, when he was named to the all-Western Conference team, moved to rush end for the Baltimore Football Club last year, and eventually became the team's top point-getter on defense.
Coach Don Matthews wants to use Brigance as his fifth pass rusher from behind the line, while Matthews hopes that a battle between rookies Jock Jones and Grant Carter will give Baltimore a new defensive end, solidifying its five-man rush.
"I feel pretty positive about it," Brigance said. "Learning the zone drops is totally different from continually coming off the end. If anything, last year taught me I had to improve my pass-rushing technique. I was just using straight speed, and any tackle in the league knew that if you played O.J. Brigance, he's going to try to outrun you to the corner. I have to learn to use my hands better."
Does he have a preference for either position?
"I can't really say I hope I play linebacker or I hope I play end," Brigance said. "I just hope I play."
Barring an injury, the 6-foot, 220-pound Brigance won't have to worry about that.
Towson's Combs is impressed
Towson State head coach Gordy Combs has been a guest coach throughout camp, where he has worked with Baltimore assistant Charlie Carpenter with the offensive line. One might say that Combs is impressed with some of the players he's watching, particularly veteran tackles Neal Fort and Shar Pourdanesh, who anchored the CFL's best line last year.
"Fort is an incredible athlete for a guy who weighs around 350 pounds. I can't get over how quick his feet are," Combs said. "Pourdanesh is amazing. I can't believe he's not playing in the NFL."