What standing up means to Connor Barwin

August, 12, 2011
8/12/11
12:00
PM ET
HOUSTON -- We can over hype the change.

Guys like Mario Williams and Connor Barwin and Jesse Nading used to have “DE” designations next to their names on the roster. Now they have “OLB.” They go to different meeting rooms. They hear from different coaches. They have new things to worry about.

[+] EnlargeMario Williams and Connor Barwin
AP Photo/David J. PhillipMario Williams (left), Connor Barwin and the Texans linebackers practice during training camp.
And as they ready for a snap, they take a different stance.

Coaches generally down play the difference between an end in a three-point stance and an outside linebacker standing up.

But with the first 3-4 team in the AFC South since this blog network revved up for before the 2008 season, I sought insight.

What’s the real difference in the two set ups?

Barwin was just the man to spell it out.

“The biggest difference I’ve learned is you see a lot more. And you have a lot more that you have to be able to do. When you’re down in your three-point stance, you just go. You’re off the edge and you just kind of go and react. Standing up you have a lot more responsibilities and you have to see what’s happening a lot more. Because you not only have to go sometimes, but you have to drop in coverage sometimes as well.

“…The first couple days were hard with the coverage aspect of it. But a couple days into camp you kind of picked up the concept of the coverages that we run and really it wasn’t that complicated. When you’re rushing now, you’re doing a lot of things just like you did when you were an end. There isn’t much difference at all.

“The one thing that is kind of nice about standing up is you actually save a lot of energy. I mean getting down in your three-point stance and sitting there while Peyton Manning is barking his calls, that will tire you out a little bit. When you can stand up and kind of catch your breath a little bit, it’s kind of nice. You never think about it, but you feel it right there in your first practice. It can definitely wear you out a little bit, leaning on your hand all the time.”

So there is a little side perk to it. It may not sound like a big deal, but if guys like Williams and Barwin are a touch fresher in the fourth quarter as a result of the change, that’s an extra benefit for sure.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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