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Dunlap Describes the Dog Days of Camp
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“It’s been great being back around my teammates with everyone back out here working hard,” he said. “Camp’s usually the toughest part of the season, but with my teammates being around it doesn’t get too bad.”
As a free agent acquisition in 2013, Dunlap cemented his role as a key member of the team’s offensive line. Last season he started and played in 11 games at left tackle opposite D.J. Fluker on the right side. Part of what makes the Chargers o-line so successful is the direction of Offensive Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris, whom Dunlap’s known for a while.
One of the things D'Alessandris is doing this offseason to make his players better is shifting his right and left lines in drills and series. Because there are usually unforeseen circumstances over the course of a season, switching sides helps players become more versatile. It also improves their instincts when forced to make in-game or in-season adjustments. Having previous experience switching sides, Dunlap was receptive to the changes and believes the hard work can help him excel as a player for years to come.
“Coach Joe wants us to be versatile and play multiple positions,” he said. “I’ve done it in college, but it’s been a couple years since I’ve played right tackle. The adjustment is minor but I had to knock some rust off it. The more you can do, the more reason they have to keep you.”
Near the end of a long week in pads, Dunlap said he and his teammates are fighting through the physical and mental challenges that come with the second week of camp.
“(You’re trying) to get your legs back as much as you can,” he said. “The second week is like the dog days of camp. Your legs start going, mentally you start falling off and you just try to keep yourself together physically and mentally and fight through it. If you can fight through it, it helps you get through the season.”
Head Coach Mike McCoy and his staff place an emphasis on stretching and proper hydration, encouraging the players to “take care of every little detail to take care of themselves.” At 6-9, 330-pounds, Dunlap is certainly one of the largest figures in the league. and the former Auburn star says stretching and regular chiropractor visits. help keep his tall frame in check.