CHICAGO -- The right side of the Bears offensive line underwent yet another change on Sunday when Lance Louis replaced Frank Omiyale at right tackle to begin the second half in the 34-29 victory over the Panthers.
In the first half, Louis entered the game at his customary right guard spot because Chris Spencer was taken back to the locker room with a hand injury. But when Spencer returned after halftime, Louis slid over to tackle and even occasionally reported as a tackle eligible, which allowed Omiyale to sporadically re-enter the contest.
Louis, the club's starting right guard in Week 1, suffered an ankle injury in the first half of the regular-season opener and was forced to miss the Bears road game against the Saints. The third-year offensive lineman was active during the loss to the Packers, but did not play. A versatile athlete who played both offensive line and tight end while at San Diego State, Louis said in the postgame locker room he last lined up in a game at right tackle during his final year with the Aztecs.
"Overall, it was OK" Louis said of his performance at tackle. "I definitely have to work on more stuff if I'm going to be out there. There is a lot of space out there. It's different because there is a lot of space out there, the [defensive players] have a lot of freedom to do anything. When you are inside, the guy is right there, but outside he can line up wider and do all kinds of spins and moves. It's different, but it's my job."
Louis said the move to tackle wasn't unexpected since he took some practice reps on the outside this past week at Halas Hall.
"[Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice has] been trying a few different things to see how I felt about a few things," Louis said. "At the end of the day, it's going to make our line that much more versatile. It's a good thing.”
But don't expect the Bears to get too comfortable with Louis at right tackle. Rookie first-round pick Gabe Carimi will eventually return from a minor knee dislocation, meaning Louis will be on the move again, probably back to right guard. Tice called Louis one of the team's five best offensive linemen on the roster, and vowed to find a spot on the field for the former seventh-round draft choice once his ankle heals.
"I just want to play," Louis said. "I don't care, I just want to be out there helping the team."