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August 1, 2012

 

Center of attention

Mangold has high hopes for offensive line

JetsBob Ellis/staff photographer
New York Jets center Nick Mangold (74) speaks with QB Mark Sanchez during a break in practice Friday at SUNY Cortland.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

He’s the anchor of the offensive line and he is serious about seeing the New York Jets having a better season than the 8-8 mark posted in 2011.
He’s Nick Mangold, the seventh-year offensive center from The Ohio State University. One thing that he and most of teammates agree on, it’s time to stop talking about the past.
“Last year was last year,” Mangold said bluntly. “We are building a great line this season. We began working on it this spring and we will continue building on that during training camp.”
After missing a training camp at SUNY Cortland last summer due to labor strife, the snapper was happy to be returning to Upstate New York.
“I think it is good for our team to get away,” Mangold said. “We are excited about the focus of just football. That has shown in practice. We will look to keep building of things each day.”
The Jets spent Tuesday away from the practice field, with drills resuming this morning.
Part of the problem a year ago was Mangold missed some time due to injury and it really swept through a number of the starters on the line and even some of the back-ups. Continuity is key to being successful. Conditioning and physical preparation are also vital in trying to avoid those injuries that could sideline you.
“Everyone is dinged up a little bit in the NFL during the season,” Mangold explained. “You really need to be able to play through it. I think we realized that last year.”
“Nick Mangold has his weight down,” head coach Rex Ryan said of his center and just one of the guys coming into camp in better shape. “He wants to be great. He’s a Pro Bowl guy, yet he still wants to be better. He thinks he’ll be a little quicker with a little less weight, so that’s why you see his weight down. I think he’s about 308, something like that. He was a little heavier than that last year.”
With a new offensive coordinator in Tony Sparano and a new system being put in place, it is a hard but eagerly anticipated adjustment for a veteran player.
“It’s exciting,” Mangold said. “It keeps things fresh after six years with the same system.”
Sparano is a no-nonsense guy. He’s is demanding and he’ll tell you honestly when you make a mistake, which is fine with Mangold.
“He does a great job of making sure you need to know what you need to know. He stays on you if you don’t know it. It’s good to have the guys accountable for the things they need to know.”
As for the constant talk of competition between quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, has Mangold heard enough of it?
“I don’t pay any attention to that,” he replied. “That’s going on behind me. That’s for somebody else to worry about.”
One thing is on his mind that is not football-related and that is his younger sister. Holley Mangold is in London preparing to make her Olympic debut in weightlifting and is among the medal favorites. Nick Mangold is very proud of his sister.
“She has really done some great things,” Mangold said with a smile. “I am really proud of her. I knew that whatever she set her mind to, she would be able to accomplish it. She has certainly done that.”
With all the time constraints involved with camp, Mangold was not sure if he would be able to watch his sister compete. If not, he will have the video crews working on ways to get the event recorded for him.
“I just have to find the times she’s going to be lifting,” Mangold said. “I hope I’ll be able to catch it live.”
Checking the Olympic schedule, it looks like the Jets center might be catching a break in that aspect. His sister will be lifting this Sunday, that happens to be the next off day for the team after Saturday night’s Green-White scrimmage.
So though he may not be there in person, Mangold will get to accomplish two goals during training camp in Cortland. The first, getting ready for the season, and also being able to watch his sister compete for the United States.

 

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