No pun intended, but word is there was no denying the guarded optimism in the Colts' early offseason practice sessions being felt by Tony Ugoh and Mike Pollak. The winds of change started blowing at the team's OG spots early this offseason after longtime starting OLG Ryan Lilja was surprisingly released. The way we hear it, both Ugoh, a second-round pick in 2007, and Pollak, a second-round pick in '08, feel like they've been granted new leases on life in pursuit of possible starting OG berths this coming season.
"Ugoh, in particular, seems like a different guy," said one team source.
Both Ugoh, who lost the starting OLT job to Charlie Johnson last season, and Pollak, who suffered a similar fate when he was replaced at right guard by Kyle DeVan, simply fell out of favor with retired offensive line coach Howard Mudd.
"They just weren't producing, and once you got on Howard's bad side, you could typically forget about it," the source said. "But with Pete (Metzelaars) now in charge, it looks like both guys have been given a second chance."
Ugoh, Pollak and DeVan will probably enter training camp with an edge on the OG competition, as each of them has gotten a fair amount of work with the starting unit so far this offseason. But we hear nothing has really been decided yet at the one position on the team — aside from the starting punt and kick returners — where uncertainty abounds.
Also figuring in the OG mix are free-agent addition Andy Alleman, a third-round pick by the Saints in '07 who started two games at right guard and one game at left guard for the Chiefs last season; burly 2010 fourth-round pick Jacques McClendon (6-3, 324); and, to a slightly lesser extent, former seventh-rounders Jaimie Thomas ('09) and Jamey Richard ('08).
For authoritative coverage and analysis of NFL news, free agency and fantasy football, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.