In his first season with a starting opportunity on his plate, Garrett Reynolds had what most would describe as an up-and-down year.
Reynolds started the first seven games at right guard before some modifications to the offensive line left him watching from the sidelines more than being in the middle of the action. Like so much in the NFL, experiences like that must be used as motivation to continue to improve.
"Things happen, but you've just got to keep doing what you're doing and keep working on stuff," Reynolds said. "You have to continue to work to be a better player every day and let everything else take care of itself."
Reynolds looks improved through his first four days of camp. He moves with more confidence and seems to have taken to new offensive line coach Pat Hill's style of coaching. Reynolds credits Hill with helping him make some of the offseason improvements that is helping his game.
"One thing we're focusing on is getting back to the fundamentals," he said of Hill. "He's got a lot of energy and we have a lot of fun keeping our tempo up-speed and rolling."
The improvements are working because Reynolds began the season with the regular starters on the offensive line. Head coach Mike Smith is pleased with what he's seeing from Reynolds and identifies him as a starter at this early point in training camp.
"I think Garrett's had a very good offseason starting back in OTAs," Smith said. "He's a guy that is going to get an opportunity to run with the first team as well as a couple of other guys. Garrett is one of the hardest working guys that we have on our football team. Right now as we speak he's our No. 1 right guard, but I think you'll see the competition and other guys will get an opportunity as we go through camp."
Rookie Peter Konz and second-year lineman Andrew Jackson are the primary competition for Reynolds. Konz was the team's top pick in the 2012 draft and Jackson is a seventh-round pick from last season. Additionally, Mike Johnson, a 2010 third-round pick, is getting some looks at both guard and right tackle.