DAVIE — Amid the circus-like atmosphere surrounding Laremy Tunsil dropping to the Dolphins in the 2016 NFL draft, one person who had Tunsil’s back was his college coach, Hugh Freeze.
Now, it’s Freeze’s turn under a searing national spotlight, so Tunsil knew what was coming when he met the media Friday. So Tunsil put the brakes on before the questions came.
“No questions about Freeze,” Tunsil said, preferring to keep opinions over the controversy private.
Last week, Freeze resigned from Ole Miss after it was disclosed that his university-issued phone made a call to a female escort service. The school said there was a “pattern of personal misconduct” by the coach.
The news likely hit hard for Tunsil, who fell to 13th because someone sabotaged his value by posting a video of him with a bong on social media moments before the draft.
“This is just draft day, this is not draft career,” Freeze reminded Tunsil via ESPN. “You can decide how it ends.”
Tunsil took that advice. He enjoyed a good rookie season despite playing out of position, at left guard, to accommodate veteran Branden Albert remaining at left tackle. Albert then was shipped to Jacksonville to allow Tunsil room to grow into his natural position, as Freeze hoped.
“That’s his thing,” coach Adam Gase said of left tackle. “It’s more his game.”
Albert considered playing left tackle, protecting the quarterback’s blind side, a badge of honor in this league.
“I could also say it’s a badge of honor,” Tunsil said. “B.A., Branden Albert, taught me a lot of things: how to play left tackle, how to play guard, just understanding the game.”
Tunsil figures his time at guard will only help make him a more-rounded lineman.
“I have more knowledge of the game now since I played guard and moved out to tackle,” he said. “I understand the offensive line more.”
At one point, Tunsil even said understanding offensive line play became “a breeze,” a comment that shouldn’t be taken too far. Tunsil stressed he has plenty to work on both as a pass protector and run blocker.
“I want to be great at both, not just one,” he said. “I don’t want to be one-dimensional, good at pass and poor at run.”
Tunsil said he spent equal time at both this offseason, including studying tape of Dallas All-Pro Tyron Smith.
“That’s a monster right there,” Tunsil said. “You’ve got to look at that. If you want to be the best, you’ve got to look at the best.”
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