CINCINNATI -- Russell Bodine is a rookie. That is a fact.
And like most rookies, the Cincinnati Bengals center is going to go through a few growing pains during his first training camp. That, too, is a fact.
It also happens to be a fact that the fourth-round pick has started a rather troubling trend that his offensive coordinator would like to see end as soon as possible. Multiple times this training camp, Bodine and quarterback Andy Dalton have struggled to cleanly connect on their snaps.
"It's something he has to overcome," offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said. "We drafted him to play center, and we think he can, but he still has to go demonstrate it in a game and continue to do it better in practice."
There are no more practices until Saturday for Bodine to hone his snapping skill. His next chance to prove that he's a better snapper than he has shown thus far will come Thursday night when he sets up in front of Dalton and possibly other quarterbacks during the preseason opener at Kansas City. Currently getting reps with the first-team offensive group, Bodine appears in line to start at the position this season.
But he won't be starting if his problems persist and become even more problematic.
"We have other candidates," Jackson said. "We're a little banged up right now so we'll keep working through it and coaching him up."
The player getting the majority of the backup repetitions so far this camp has been Trevor Robinson. T.J. Johnson also is an option at the position, as is Mike Pollak, the veteran who hasn't worked out at center yet this camp. The time he has spent practicing -- he's been mostly limited through camp with a knee injury -- has been at left guard, playing behind starter Clint Boling.
Dalton told reporters last week he and Bodine needed to communicate better with one another, and go through a few tweaks to get the problems fixed.
"It's going to get eliminated," Dalton said. "We can't have that. That's the easiest thing you do on the football field is get the snap."
Jackson isn't against using competition to get the snapping troubles to get cleaned up.
"I'm not going to just watch the ball go over somebody's head all the time. We're not going to do that," Jackson said. "But at the same time, we have to give him an opportunity. He needs to fix it and we need to help him fix it. If we can't fix it, then we have to do whatever we have to do."