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Rams guard Turner is pumped up for his first start
By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch
Saturday, Dec. 18 2004
Nobody was busier this past week at Rams Park than Larry Turner.
The rookie from Eastern Kentucky not only took virtually every snap at left
guard with the first team, he also filled his usual role as the scout-team
"It's been a big week," Turner said. "But it's all good for me, to get my wind
going again. So that way, being out there in that desert heat, I'll be in shape
and ready to go."
Turner, a bubbly sort anyway, was downright giddy after being told that he
would be in the starting lineup for the first time Sunday, when the Rams (6-7)
square off against the Arizona Cardinals (4-9) at Sun Devil Stadium. Turner
replaces veteran Tom Nutten, who is hampered by knee and toe injuries. Coach
Mike Martz said Darnell Alford, signed in September as a free agent, also might
get some time at left tackle.
"It's been a while since I've been able to go out there and hit somebody,"
Turner said. "So, that'll be fun."
Turner, 6 feet 2 and 290 pounds, played guard for two seasons in college. When
Danny Hope replaced the retiring Roy Kidd as coach in 2003, Turner was moved to
"He thought my best chance to get to the NFL was playing center. It worked
out," said Turner, who was drafted in the seventh round (No. 238 overall).
Still, he prefers guard to center.
"At center, you usually have a nose (tackle) in front of you all the time and
you're usually helping somebody out," he explained. "At guard, you're kind of
like on an island, somewhat like a tackle. You've got to block head up ... it's
you and him. It's a lot more physical, a lot more fun."
In his addition to his heavy load on the practice field, Turner also underwent
extensive film study and classroom work, with offensive line coaches John
Matsko and John Benton, as well as Martz, doing the tutoring.
"We've gone over everything in depth, detail, all week," Turner said. "They're
really making sure that I get everything down, my technique especially. I've
got the plays down; it's just making sure I get the right technique so I can
execute and we can be successful."
Turner, 22, said he was experiencing only a few butterflies.
"Maybe a little bit, just in anticipation of actually getting out there and
getting the adrenaline rushing," he said. "I haven't done that really since the
preseason, and it's going to be exciting. I'll be ready."
Saipaia gets praise
Last week, in just his second NFL start, Rams right tackle Blaine Saipaia had
to deal with Carolina's Julius Peppers, who of the league's top defensive ends.
Martz said Saipaia earned high marks while limiting Peppers to one sack, his
10th of the season.
"I think Blaine probably played as well, if not the best, of all the offensive
linemen," Martz said. "He's going to be fine, a real good player. I love his
toughness and his competitiveness."
There's no relief in sight for Saipaia, though: The Cardinals' defensive line
features end Bertrand Berry, whose 12 1/2 sacks is the league's second-highest
total. Berry usually lines up on the right side, but he moves around a lot,
meaning that he'll be in Saipaia's grill at least part of the time.
"I've really, really got to be on my game and be prepared," said Saipaia, who
noted that the stiff challenge also represents a learning experience. "When you
get exposed to the best talent in the league, you can only help but get
With Turner moving in at left guard, Saipaia's standing as the offensive line's
newest member was brief.
Quarterback Marc Bulger, who was leading the league in passing yardage before
he was hurt in the first quarter Dec. 5 vs. San Francisco, said the soreness in
his bruised right (throwing) shoulder is less painful than the sting his psyche
"The injury's nothing," he said. "But to know your team needs you right now and
to not be able to help, especially on the road, is tough."
Chris Chandler is expected to make his consecutive start Sunday, with Bulger
targeted to return Dec. 27 vs. Philadelphia.
Re: Rams guard Turner is pumped up for his first startOriginally Posted by RamWraith
Re: Rams guard Turner is pumped up for his first start
No. That should probably read 'LG'.
Big Darnell might be a pleasant surprise. A late surprise, but needed at this stage.
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