Penn State OL coach explains why Caedan Wallace can play left tackle

New England Patriots rookie offensive tackle Caedan Wallace spent four years playing right tackle at Penn State. Yet, as a rookie at the next level, he was drafted with the No. 68 overall pick in the third round with the expectations that he was athletic enough to switch to left tackle.

On the surface, it’s seems like a huge gamble for a Patriots team that lost its starting left tackle, Trent Brown, in free agency. Their next possible option is veteran Chuks Okorafor, who is also making the switch from right tackle.

It’s a game plan that could ultimately blow up in New England’s face.

Penn State offensive line coach Phil Trautwein doesn’t see that as being the case because he has complete faith in Wallace’s ability to make the transition. If anyone would know, it would be Trautwein, who has spent years teaching and watching Wallace develop behind the scenes.

“He hasn’t taken any game reps, but he’s taken many practice reps because I always make sure they’re developing on both. I don’t want them to just be a ‘right tackle’ because I want them to have a long career and get on the field as fast as possible,” said Trautwein, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “His career kind of was just different, but I would have no hesitation to put him on the left side.”

Wallace’s left side opportunities were limited due to the fact that he played across from Olu Fashanu, who was taken No. 11 overall in the draft by the New York Jets.

It was more of a situation where he wasn’t needed to play on the left side, despite his clear ability to do so. With that said, there’s a big difference between practice reps and game reps, particularly when the latter is at the professional level.

Okorafor struggling and Wallace not being up to speed right out of the gates could spell doom for the Patriots’ offensive line chances. But Trautwein isn’t betting against Wallace.

“He’s becoming more nasty as he’s becoming more confident. This year he was playing with a nasty streak, which was great for him, and that’s why he moved up so much on people’s boards because of how he attacked,” Trautwein said. “It’s all starting to click. You’re getting a kid that is playing his best ball with his best ball still ahead of him.”

Story originally appeared on Patriots Wire