New spot tackled

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

Tyler Lynem still inhabits a corner of the Calgary Stampeders locker-room reserved primarily for defensive linemen.

Within arm's reach reside the likes of Sheldon Napastuk, Randy Chevrier, Demetrious Maxie and Rahim Abdullah, mainstays along the defensive side of the ball.

But make no mistake, although he still sits at a stall in their midst, the former University of Calgary Dinos d-lineman is no longer a part of that crew.

The 6-ft. 6-in., 300-lb. Cowtown native has earned a home with the hoggies, an offensive line he officially cracked after being named to the team's starting roster.

"It was pretty exciting to know, for sure, that I will be a part of the team and be dressing for games unlike last year ... I'll get game cheques too," the 25-year-old smiled yesterday after the the official 46-man roster was released.

Lynem has graduated to the main roster after toiling all of last season on injured reserve after being converted from the d-line.

This year he will work as the seventh man, rotating at both tackle spots, spelling off Jeff Pilon and Alex Gauthier, who both helped the youngster earn his stripes this spring.

While o-line coach Steve Buratto has also played a key role in Lynem's development, he credits one-on-one clashes with Abdullah for aiding his transition.

Abdullah, meanwhile, is encouraged by what he sees in Lynem.

"He's got the size, he's just got to get down the mental aspects of it," said Abdullah. "He's one of the biggest guys on the team -- 300-lb. He's like a piece of clay. If Buratto and the rest of these guys keep helping him out, they could mould him into a great player."

Lynem said he was schooled throughout camp by Abdullah, who consistently beat him in one-on-ones before offering encouragement.

"During games on the sideline, even though he's on the d-line, he throws a lot of words of advice my way," Lynem said. "Most of my advice has come from (fellow tackles) Pilon and Gauthier but these guys, too, always have a few words of advice for me."

Buratto set up a couple of meetings with Lynem in the off-season, making it clear the young man either had to earn a starting job in camp or move on. The cagey old coach said converting a defensive lineman is a rare feat.

"Maybe two out of a 100 can do it," Buratto noted. "We had a couple of visits in the off-season and he knew he was up against it. He either had to play himself onto the roster or he'd have to go someplace else or do something else."

Lynem works out in the off-season with Eskimos o-lineman Tim O'Neill, also a former Dino, and ex-Stamp and one-time Dino Rhon Meyer. After picking the brains of everyone around him, Lynem is finally settling into his new position.


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