Miami Dolphins rookie RB Kalen Ballage leveling out after tough start to OTAs

Dolphins fourth-round pick Kalen Ballage has high potential to be an explosive playmaker. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — Even in the lower stakes of offseason practices, it’s a bad feeling to line up for a play and not be entirely certain where you’re supposed to go. It’s especially unnerving when you’re in the process of trying to prove you belong in the NFL.

Dolphins rookie Kalen Ballage battled that early in Organized Team Activities when Adam Gase hit the accelerator and had the offense running quicker than he’d seen before. He struggled to keep everything straight as Miami called play after play, and it illuminated how much work he still needs to do.

“I’m from a no-huddle offense at Arizona State, so I’ve been in the no-huddle stuff, but going really fast and not knowing all the plays is completely different,” he said after practice today. “There was a few times where my mind was running 100 miles an hour trying to figure things out.

“It’s not that I don’t know, but am I 100 percent sure? You kind of have an idea of what you’re supposed to be doing, but maybe you aren’t fully sure about it. Just being consistent and knowing what I’ve got so I can be very decisive and play fast.”

The Dolphins, who took Ballage in the fourth round two months ago, hope he’ll be a quick learner. He’s got the combination of a bruising 6-foot-3, 230-pound frame, great speed and the versatility to hurt a defense as a runner or receiver and aspires to reach the level of dual-threat stars like Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson.

If he’s ready to contribute right away he’ll be a significant weapon for Gase as he tries to revamp the offense. He’s settled in since those first few days, working on memorizing plays with fellow rookie running back Buddy Howell of Florida Atlantic, and has looked more comfortable in the offense this week.

“He’s progressing quickly,” Gase said. “He’s consistently been one of those guys that’s trying to find a way to get extra (work) and spend time with other players, just trying to really nail down the offense.

“We’re trying to do as many things as possible in the spring to get him used to things, because once you hit training camp you don’t have a ton of time to spend on one specific thing. A lot of things are going to be flying at him once we hit training camp.”

Ballage believes he was underutilized at Arizona State, where he still managed to run for 669 yards and six touchdowns last season. Over three years as a regular part of the Sun Devils’ offense, he totaled 1,858 yards rushing, 620 yards receiving and 25 total touchdowns.

The upside is he did all of that without taking much of a beating physically because he had only 450 carries in his college career.

As he tries to master the playbook before next month’s training camp, Ballage has been learning from future Hall of Famer Frank Gore and third-year running back Kenyan Drake. Both have gone out of their way to help him acclimate. Gore and Ballage hang out and scour film of other running backs around the league to pick up new moves.

All the on-field reps and off-field study sessions are helping make things run more smoothly for Ballage, who prides himself on being reliable.

“I’m not a guy that makes a lot of mental errors,” he said. “There’s gonna be stuff here and there because I’m learning a new playbook and it’s a lot of information to learn, but I’m just trying to be the most consistent football player I can be right now.”

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