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Arizona football: T.D. Gross ready to contribute on Wildcats' offensive line

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A leader without actually playing

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As the Arizona Wildcats continue to search for new talent on the offensive line, one name that's sure to get some playing time that has been around for a while is redshirt junior T.D. Gross.

"Well he's been here long enough," Rich Rodriguez said earlier this week. "It's kind of time for him to be in the mix. He's worked pretty hard in the weight room. Football's important to him and he knows our schemes. He's played tackle, he's played guard, left side, right side. So he knows what we're doing, now we just gotta keep him healthy and keep progressing."

"This year I think I did a little more in the summer watching film and doing more position work rather than just doing stuff in the weight room," Gross added. "And I think it's just put my body in a position where I'm already moving like an offensive lineman wants to move from the beginning, so I've kind of started my progressive work towards that earlier this year."

While he hasn't exactly seen the field as an offensive lineman in college (he has ten games played credited to his name), Gross' sheer time around the program is kind of putting him in a leadership role this year.

"Just cuz I've been here, and we'll be in the locker room telling stories and I'll say something and guys are like 'What are you talking about?' just cuz they weren't here," he explained. "I don't realize that I've kind of been here for a while now. So yeah, I do (see myself as a leader) just because of age."

Right now, it seems like Gross will start the year out at left guard, but he's been shuffled all around during camp, which could make him somewhat like what Lene Maiava was last year, where he could fill in just about anywhere if someone goes down with an injury.

"During the summer I worked both left-handed and right-handed stances, so I'm pretty used to both sides now," Gross said of his versatility. "I'm hopefully in the starting five somewhere. I couldn't tell you right side or left side, guard or tackle. I don't know. I'm getting reps on both sides of the line, which is a good thing."

Fans should expect to see Gross in the lineup, whether it's as a starter, or as a guy who fills in when someone needs a breather or gets hurt. But even though he hasn't had any significant game experience, his four years in the program should yield some success for Gross as he gets more time on the field.