Rookie Lineman Sebastian Tretola Adjusting to NFL's Game


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Comparing Titans guard Sebastian Tretola to a bull in a china shop would be an insult to all those who play around him.

The NFL doesn't have any dainty, porcelain-like objects on the field.

It is accurate, however, to say the Titans are trying to reign Tretola in during his first few months on the job.

"He has to watch his aggression,'' Titans coach Mike Mularkey said of Tretola. "He is too overly aggressive trying to get thick into guys and he can't do that. He has to use his hands a little better than he's been using them.

"It's a good problem. I'd rather pull him back than beg him to do it. I saw some (improvement) but he has some room to grow."

The 6-foot-4, 318-pound Tretola doesn't deny it.

"Don't move so fast,'' he said, critiquing himself. "Obviously when you get to this level, the d-linemen and the linebackers you play are so good with their hands, and they are good at reading plays. So if they see a play going one way they are going to ride it, if (there's) a cutback, they're going to make a play to get back on the ball carrier. So with that you have to gradually come up, you can't go all-in and try and smack them. So that is one of the things I have to work on.

"Through the whole draft process, (my aggressiveness) was my biggest plus. I am extremely, extremely physical. So obviously that is what you want. It is a good problem to have to try and be less physical, so I am going to work on it and get better every day."

The Titans still haven't decided on who will play left guard on the team's five-man offensive line, opposite right guard Chance Warmack.

Quinton Spain worked with the starters at the position during OTAs and minicamp, and right now Mularkey said he's the front-runner. But players like Tretola and second-year pro Jeremiah Poutasi are also in the mix. Brian Schwenke has also worked some at guard this offseason, and Josue Matias is also in the mix.

Tretola said he's learning, and hopes to be a contender.

"Obviously there is competition, and I want to be a starter for this team and be a great player for this team, but at the same time I have to learn. I have to sit back and take the baby steps and learn and let it come as it may,'' he said.

"I expected it to be fast (in the NFL), and I expected it to be powerful. Efficiency, I wasn't expecting that to be the key factor that stood out. I feel like that is the biggest difference between college and the NFL is how efficient everybody is.  Everybody knows what they are doing every single time and they know where they are supposed to be. So with that, you have to be just as efficient, if not more to get your job done."

The Titans selected Tretola in the sixth round (193rd overall) of the NFL Draft. Tretola started all 13 games at left guard last season and 24 straight contests to close his career at Arkansas. He allowed one sack on the season to help Arkansas lead the SEC in fewest sacks allowed for the third straight season. He earned an 80 percent offensive grade in 10 of 13 games, according to Arkansas.

Tretola said he's seen improvement since walking in the door in early May, after the draft.

He's already looking forward to the end of July, when training camp begins – and the pads come on.

"It is starting to slow down, and things are starting to make sense,'' he said. "I am starting to see things in a different light, see it in a different way and reacting better. I definitely feel I am getting better in time.

"I am definitely looking forward to putting the pads on. You can't really play o-line without pads on. Without being able to judge, getting hit every play or hitting a guy every play. Hitting him is different, moving him is different, everything is different. Once we get these pads we're definitely going to get the ball rolling here."

The Titans select Arkansas G Sebastian Tretola in the sixth round (193rd overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. (AP Photos)

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