Ohio State offensive lineman Kirk Barton has been gaining valuable experience
this week in Mobile, Alabama during the Under Armour Senior Bowl week. But he's also
realized the great opportunity it's provided him to get to know some of the
other top senior offensive linemen from around the country.
"It's been an exciting week," he said during an exclusive interview
"We bonded as an offensive line — between (USC's) Sam Baker and big
Gosder (Cherilus of Boston College) and those guys.
"It's been a lot of fun to play with those guys. It's been a competitive
week, and it's something I've definitely enjoyed."
The 6-foot-4, 308-pound Buckeye then took a moment to share his take on the
talented pair of linemen.
"Sam's going to be a great left tackle," he said. "I mean, his
pass sets are perfect every time.
"He's a good kid. Just talking to him, you can tell he's humble, and
he's a funny guy to be around.
"Gosder's just a mammoth," Barton said. "He's like 6 foot 7,
he has 11-inch hands ... He's a physical freak."
Barton also described what the week's been like for him while he's been
preparing to play in the Senior Bowl game at 4:00 p.m. (ET) on Saturday.
"Adjusting to the new offense was hard for the first day, but I've got
it pretty cold now," he said. "It's just hard because you have to
bring it on every snap, because you're going against the top players in the
country. You really have to be on your toes and ready to move."
Speaking of adjustments, Barton has recently begun a major adjustment to
expand his opportunities at the pro level. He's been learning how to play the
Kirk Barton celebrates with WR Brian Robiskie after a score.
AP Photo/Terry Gilliam
"I figure that can only help my value," he said. "I've
actually already started working at it. I haven't done any of it down here this
week because I felt better at tackle, but by the Combine and especially by
minicamp, I feel I'll be ready to play guard."
Barton's been working with the university's strength and conditioning staff,
under the guidance of Eric Lichter, who trained athletes for the Scouting
Combine prior to accepting his current position as strength coach at Ohio State.
After four years as a starter at offensive tackle for the Buckeyes, Barton
understands what's involved in making the transition to the interior line.
"It's just different because everything happens quicker," he
said. "Guys aren't on your edge as much, they're just right in front
of you. So you just have to be ready to work in a hurry and work with your
center and your tackle."
As NFL teams evaluate him for a job, the All-American hopes that they'll take
note of a very important aspect of his football career.
"First and foremost, I've played a lot of football, so I've been through
battles," he said. "I've played through pain, I've been pretty
durable. I started 41 games, so that proves a little bit of durability.
"I just work hard and try to improve every year."
While he was obviously looking forward to his NFL career as he spoke, the
former leader of the Buckeye's offensive line also took a moment to look back in
appreciation of the college career that helped bring him to this important point
in his life. And he had a message for the Ohio State fans.
"We appreciate your support," he said. "And be excited
about this year's team, because they have outstanding leadership coming back.
And they're hoping for a special season."
Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features
are published across the Scout.com network and are syndicated through
FOXSports.com. You can contact him by email
through this link.