DHS alum Foster earns playing time with South Alabama

photoDemopolis High alumnus Steven Foster did not get the start at right guard for the South Alabama Jaguars in their Thursday opener against Southern Utah. Still, the redshirt freshman has high hopes for the 2013 campaign after a productive offseason.

“Offseason, they moved me from right tackle to right guard. They moved me in, got a little bit of weight on me. I took all the first team reps the whole spring. I repped the whole spring game at first team,” Foster said of the position change he saw after signing with USA as a tackle out of high school.

Foster did see his share of action behind starter Shaun Artz Thursday and figures to see increased playing time over the course of the season as he adjusts to his interior line spot.

“It’s not so much finessing. You don’t have big defensive ends coming off the edge, coming off real quick. You got big guys, you just sit there and lean on them,” Foster said. “It’s fat kid friendly.”

Foster has bulked up since arriving on campus in Mobile and is currently listed at 6-4, 310 pounds.

“It was actually pretty easy,” Foster said of the physical gains he has made over the last year. “We’ve got a good strength and conditioning staff and they do a really good job of telling us what to eat and how to gain weight and just developing us as players.”

The biggest challenge for the former Tiger was not on the physical side, but in the mental aspects of the game as he transitioned from high school football to a Division I program that saw its first season in the Sun Belt Conference in 2012.

“Just watching the game and learning. The game is a lot different from high school. It moves a whole lot quicker. You have to recognize more things. You see the offensive line come off and you have to be a unit. With the position we play, you have to be just as smart as the quarterback,” Foster said. “Seeing what they see and hearing what calls they make and learning, I think that was really good for me. I got to know the offense a little bit better.”

Foster will get to show exactly what he has learned as he continues to compete for time and play a key role along the offensive front for a team that has a stiff schedule in front of it.

“Tennessee, that is a big SEC game. Troy, that’s an in-state game and a big rivalry game for the Sun Belt,” Foster said of the dates to which he anticipates the most on the USA schedule. “And I’m looking forward to going to Navy in November.”