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Tercero is a "warrior" chasing Mexican roots

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  • Tercero is a "warrior" chasing Mexican roots

    Tercero is a "warrior" chasing Mexican roots
    By Bill Coats

    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Rams guard Scott Tercero keeps an eye on his man in training camp. Tercero is expected to start at left guard in place of injured Chris Dishman on Sunday afternoon.
    (Chris Lee/P-D)

    Although he was born and raised in the United States, Rams guard Scott Tercero remains curious about his Mexican ancestry.

    "I think a lot of third- and fourth-generation children lose track of their heritage," Tercero said. "I've been trying to find out about the area where my grandparents grew up."

    That would be Zacatecas, a city of 117,500 situated in central Mexico, about 400 miles northwest of Mexico City. Tercero had scheduled a trip there, but illness forced him to cancel.

    Richard and Theresa Tercero reared their family - Scott, plus younger siblings Brent, Grant and Alison - in Pico Rivera, a suburb east of Los Angeles. As a youngster, Scott said, learning about his Mexican roots "wasn't that big of a deal."

    But as he grew older, Scott's interest in his family's background increased. He intends to plan a trip to Zacatecas, home of Mexico's oldest bull ring but hardly a hotbed of NFL fans. If Tercero continues to make a name for himself with the Rams, perhaps that will change.

    Tercero, a second-year pro from Cal-Berkeley, is expected to start at left guard in place of injured Chris Dishman on Sunday, when the Rams (2-2) face the Seahawks (3-0) in Seattle in an NFC West showdown. Tercero, the Rams' sixth-round draft choice in 2003, made his first career start last Sunday in the Rams' 24-14 victory at San Francisco.

    "I had a lot of family there and a lot of friends, so it added that much more to the excitement," said Tercero, who will turn 23 on Oct. 28. "A lot of people that are important to me got to see me play in my first start."

    They saw him play well, according to left tackle Orlando Pace.

    "Scotty played great," Pace said. "He broke a bone in his hand, and that just goes to show how tough he is: He stayed in the game. He's a warrior out there."

    After reviewing Tercero's performance on tape, coach Mike Martz echoed Pace's assessment. Martz said one play in particular stood out.

    "I don't know how he saw this linebacker coming on a pitch play where Steven (Jackson) took it down to about the 10-yard line," Martz said. "He saw (the linebacker) and turned back in and got him. He has an awareness that's really unusual."

    Apprised of Martz's wonderment over the play, Tercero laughed and claimed to possess no special skills in clairvoyance.

    "I wouldn't say that I have a sixth sense," he said. "You play the game a lot and you develop kind of an instinct. You see things happening and you kind of feel from the alignments of the defensive players what's going to happen."

    Basketball was a younger Tercero's game.

    "My main love," he said. But as his body matured -- he's 6 feet 4 and 303 pounds - it became apparent that he was built more for football. He had a solid, if not spectacular, career at Loyola High in Pico Rivera, and neither of the major hometown universities - UCLA and USC - was interested in him.

    So, he headed north.

    "Cal was really high on me and I really liked the Bay Area, so they made the decision for me," Tercero said.

    The Bears were a combined 8-25 in Tercero's first three seasons. But in 2002, when he was blocking for Kyle Boller - now the Baltimore Ravens' quarterback - they finished 7-5. Cal went 8-6 last year and carried a 3-0 mark and No. 7 national ranking into Saturday's game against top-ranked Southern Cal.

    "They're developing something really special there, and I'm really happy for them," Tercero said.

    Just as he's pleased to get a shot at starting with the Rams - even if turns out to be temporary. Tercero, who worked at guard and tackle during training camp, was thrust into action when Dishman suffered a hyperextended right knee early in the second quarter Sept. 26 against New Orleans. Tercero said he doesn't feel as if he's auditioning for a full-time job with the first unit.

    "I don't see it as that," he said. "When I go in, I try to play as well as possible. That's my position right now, being a backup. And wherever they need me to fill in, that's what I'm going to do. I don't have a problem with that at all."

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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  • RamWraith
    Rams make changes on depth chart--Polley demoted
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch

    Rams linebacker Tommy Polley was happy last May at minicamp, but he was demoted to second string Sunday.
    (Chris Lee/P-D)

    MACOMB, Ill. - Who said exhibition games are meaningless?

    That wasn't the case Sunday for Tony Newson and Scott Tercero, and conversely, Tommy Polley and Andy King.

    In the Rams' first practice since Thursday's exhibition opener, against Chicago, Newson found himself with the starting unit at outside linebacker in the base defense. Polley was working with the second string.

    On the offensive line, Tercero worked with the first unit at left guard, with King moving from starting left guard to second-team right tackle.

    Newson said he was pulled aside by linebackers coach Joe Vitt about 20 minutes before Sunday's practice and told: "We're going to make a little change today."

    "That was a wrench thrown at the last minute," Newson said. "So it was quite a surprise."

    Newson played weakside linebacker for the rest of the Bears game after Pisa Tinoisamoa suffered a sprained ankle in the first quarter.

    "It gave me a chance to kind of earn a little bit of the coach's trust," Newson said. "So I thought I did pretty good."

    Apparently, so did Vitt, because on Sunday Newson was ahead of Polley at the strongside spot.

    Tercero was told of his switch by offensive line coach John Matsko in meetings before practice.

    "I was surprised at first, but I have more experience at guard," Tercero said. "So I feel a little bit more comfortable there."

    He started at right tackle against the Bears and played very well, but guard is his natural position from his college days at the University of California.

    With nearly a month remaining before the season opener, it may be premature to read too much into Sunday's depth-chart shuffling. Nonetheless, coaches don't make such changes on a whim. Even for one practice.

    So are these new job assignments permanent?

    "I have no idea. I really don't," Tercero said. "And I try not to read into that. Wherever they put me, I'll play as well as I can, and then we'll go from there."

    Newson said, "I'm not even going to speak on that right now. We'll see what happens tomorrow. Right now the wind is twirling."

    The biggest surprise would be if Newson held off Polley for the starting job.

    Polley, 26, has been a starting outside linebacker for the Rams since early in his rookie season of 2001. He was second on the team in tackles in '01 (with 119), and last season (with 115). Last season, Polley shared the team interception lead (four) with three other players.

    -08-16-2004, 05:16 AM
  • RamDez
    Dishman is back after a visit home
    by RamDez

    Dishman is back after a visit home
    By Bill Coats

    Of the Post-Dispatch

    MACOMB, Ill. - When the football players at Lincoln (Neb.) North Star High saw Chris Dishman's Hummer parked outside the weight room early one morning this week, they figured he'd be coaching their team again.

    "They thought I was released," Dishman said after Wednesday afternoon's practice at Rams training camp. "They (said), 'Geez, you already got cut?'"

    No, Dishman is still with the Rams, vying for a job on an offensive line badly lacking in personnel. But he had some unfinished business that needed to be addressed, so he left for his Garland, Neb., home after Thursday night's preseason game in St. Louis and returned to Western Illinois University about noon Wednesday.

    "Just a lot of personal stuff," said Dishman, who had decided to retire after seven NFL seasons before Rams coach Mike Martz persuaded him earlier this month to accept a one-year deal and report to camp. Dishman said it seemed like a good idea at the time, but . . .

    "My kids, I didn't get to say goodbye to them," said Dishman, 30, a father of two. "It was getting tough for them, crying every night and calling me up and telling me they wanted me to come home. It started to make me (wonder) if . . . my retirement wasn't a bad plan. The money's all good and everything, but when you've got kids at home, the money doesn't really mean anything to you."

    Although Dishman acknowledged that "definitely there were second thoughts," he emphasized that he never seriously considered re-retiring. "My wife and my dad both said, you signed a contract, don't back out like some of those guys," he said. "I was raised that way. There was no way that I wasn't coming back."

    But he wanted to see his children again, as well as his extended family at North Star, where he'd been serving as an assistant coach. "I went up and saw them practice," he said. "I let them know why I wasn't there personally. Calling them on the phone, I think, is inconsiderate when you've spent four months with these kids.

    "Some of them don't have fathers. It's not a troubled group, but it's a new school there, so they're getting kids there from all over town. If you're a role model to them, you need to go back and show them your face and tell them you haven't forgotten about them."

    Two players are hurt

    Two more Rams went down with injuries Wednesday, but Martz reported that neither player was seriously hurt. Offensive tackle Grant Williams, who probably will be in the lineup when the Rams open the regular season Sept. 12, turned his right ankle in the morning practice and skipped the afternoon workout.

    Cornerback DeJuan Groce appeared to be much more
    -08-19-2004, 01:49 PM
  • RamWraith
    Offensive Line Gives Strong Opening Act
    by RamWraith
    Monday, September 13, 2004

    By Nick Wagoner
    Staff Writer

    Patchwork. Pieced together. Makeshift. Pick an adjective and the Rams’ offensive line was called it during the preseason. As the injuries mounted, the questions about the unit became as big as the men who played on it.

    With one regular season game down and a win on its record, St. Louis answered many of those questions with a resounding response. The starting group consisted of Orlando Pace (left tackle), Chris Dishman (left guard), Andy McCollum (center), Adam Timmerman (right guard) and Grant Williams (right tackle), playing its first game together.

    Finishing with zero sacks leading to 272 passing yards and a piledriving effort in the trenches that resulted in 176 rushing yards, the offensive line did more than jell, it dominated.

    After struggling with a trio of turnovers in the first quarter, the Rams decided to put it on the line, ramming (no pun intended) the ball down Arizona’s throat, leading the way to a 17-10 win at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday. The win was St. Louis’ first victory in an opener since it beat Philadelphia in 2001.

    Rams’ coach Mike Martz said he was more than pleased with the dominance of his offensive line.

    “I told our staff today that I felt like this is probably the best performance of an offensive line since I’ve been here,” Martz said. “Anytime you rush for those kind of yards and don’t give up any sacks, that’s a pretty exceptional day for any offensive line.”

    On the surface, it seemed like it would be difficult to put the line together in time to have any kind of continuity entering the regular season. Somehow, someway, the Rams made it work.

    The injury bug hit early when right tackle Kyle Turley left camp with back problems. Pace was absent on the other side because of a contract stalemate, leaving the Rams without either of their top-flight tackles. To make matters worse, center Dave Wohlabaugh struggled with a nagging hip injury, forcing left guard Andy McCollum to slide back to his center position.

    The only sure thing was Timmerman, who was forced to play through pain in his shoulder, just so the group could have some kind of consistent presence. Instead of crying over their losses, St. Louis got proactive, seeking help in the form of available free agents and looking within its own roster for possible help.

    Williams, who has been a steady hand in his time with the team, manned Pace’s position admirably, even playing on a badly sprained ankle. Scott Tercero was the utility man of the group, sliding between the two tackle spots and left guard at various times. In his second year, Tercero came of age, providing the Rams with a valuable commodity off the bench.

    Aside from the homegrown talent, St. Louis went shopping and found a high school football coach in Nebraska. Chris...
    -09-13-2004, 03:19 PM
  • RamWraith
    Rams offensive line serves and protects in exhibition win
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Aug. 28 2004

    Group recovers against Washington after a difficult outing Monday in loss at
    Kansas City.

    If the Rams' Scott Tercero never reads or hears the term "patchwork offensive
    line" again, he'll be a happy man.

    "I don't think they should use that," said Tercero, who has been playing right
    tackle with the first unit. "Everyone's tired of hearing 'patchwork offensive
    line.' Yeah, we have a couple of young guys playing, but with time, experience
    comes. And I think we're doing really well."

    It was hard to argue with Tercero after the Rams' 28-3 preseason victory over
    the Washington Redskins on Friday night at Edward Jones Dome. The Rams'
    offense, which totaled only 584 yards and mustered just 17 points in the first
    two exhibition games combined, broke out for 435 yards against the 'Skins.

    Perhaps as significant, the line kept quarterbacks Marc Bulger, Chris Chandler
    and Jeff Smoker out of harm's way, for the most part. The Redskins recorded one
    sack just four days after the Kansas City Chiefs dropped Rams QBs four times.

    "If you look across the board, there's nothing to be embarrassed about; those
    (offensive linemen) are a good group," Bulger said. "I don't know of any group
    that can just come together in a week and play great, especially against the
    package of blitzes that Kansas City had. They've had a little more time
    together, and they're going to be fine."

    With first-team tackles Orlando Pace (contract dispute) and Kyle Turley (back
    injury) out and incumbent center Dave Wohlabaugh (hip injury) released, the
    only remaining starters on the line are guard Adam Timmerman and center Andy
    McCollum, who played left guard last season.

    Plugging the holes have been Tercero, tackles Grant Williams and Greg Randall,
    and guards Chris Dishman and Andy King. Randall and Dishman were signed as free
    agents after training camp began, and guard Tom Nutten, a Rams starter for four
    years, was summoned out of a one-year retirement a week ago.

    Dishman, an eight-year veteran who has been starting at left guard, carried a
    heavy load Friday because Nutten suffered a toe injury in the first half.
    Dishman, who has shed 20 pounds but still weighs 354, said the extra work was

    "It was good to see where I was at to (prepare to) play a full game; I felt
    pretty good," said Dishman, who also had retired before the Rams called. "There
    were a couple of long drives and my conditioning was better than what I thought
    it would be. Not as good as I'd like it to be, but it'll get there."...
    -08-28-2004, 05:51 AM
  • RamWraith
    Newcomer Newson Makes Move
    by RamWraith

    It would be easy for Tony Newson to get complacent. After spending a little more than a year out of football altogether, he practiced with the first-team defense at strongside linebacker for St. Louis on Sunday.

    He could now rest on his laurels and enjoy the fact that he seems to have locked up a roster spot with a legitimate chance at cracking the starting lineup. Newson, of course, won’t do that. He doesn’t know the easy way out because he has never had it easy.

    The 6-foot-1, 247-pound linebacker entered training camp simply hoping to make the roster, perhaps by way of special teams. “Coming to camp, I had to prove myself,” Newson said. “It was trying to establish yourself and let everybody know that you are accountable for what you do.”

    For the time being, Newson appears to have shown that he is capable. Coming out of Utah State in 2002, Newson signed with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent. He was on the practice squad before moving on to the Chiefs for the final four games of the season.

    In 2003, Newson entered training camp with hopes of improving and perhaps playing more. Those hopes were dashed when he fractured his sternum early in training camp. The Chiefs cut him before the season started and Newson went to work in the real world.

    He spent time working many jobs and rehabilitating from the injury. He worked with emergency medical technicians, telemarketing and as a business representative. Newson said time spent in the “real” world helped him appreciate his opportunities in football. “Anytime you’re out for an entire year, a lot goes through your mind,” Newson said. “Of course, you are a lot more hungry than you were before.”

    Newson signed with the Rams on March 15. It didn’t hurt Newson’s cause that Joe Vitt, the only linebackers coach he has had, moved from Kansas City to St. Louis in the offseason. Newson was familiar with Vitt’s terminology and infectious enthusiasm for the game, making the adjustment that much easier. “I’m more comfortable with him and his teaching methods,” Newson said. “It helps a lot.”

    In his pursuit of the starting job, Newson moved past Tommy Polley, who had started for the better part of the past three years. Polley has been one of the teams’ top tacklers in that time, finishing second on the team in stops last season with 115.

    Coach Mike Martz said competition is a big part of training camp and the move is by no means permanent.
    “This happens all the time in camp,” Martz said. “We are trying different combinations and seeing what the best combination is. “We haven’t settled on our final three yet by any stretch of the imagination.”

    While Newson isn’t sure that he will remain with the top unit, he is sure that it is where he wants to be. Polley will almost certainly respond to the move with an intense finish to his camp. If anything...
    -08-17-2004, 10:12 AM