Offensive line coach Bill Callahan says he is impressed by center Phil Costa’s work ethic and encouraged by his play.
“I think he’s done a terrific job, just communicating and putting us on the same page with the quarterback, getting the line on the same page,” Callahan said after Saturday’s practice. “I’ve been pleased with his work ethic.”
Costa is going to get plenty of chances to prove his work ethic. He’s the starting center, but right now, he doesn’t have much backup. David Arkin and Harland Gunn are trying to learn the center position right now, with the Cowboys being down two other backup centers, Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski, and awaiting the return of guard Mackenzy Bernadeau, who hasn’t even practiced since signing as a free agent.
But Callahan said extra work will be no problem for Costa, who played all 16 games at center for the Cowboys last year.
“He’s a tough guy. He’s physical. He loves the game,” Callahan said. “This is a guy that’s got a lot of pride – a lot of pride. So if he errs now and then, he takes it personal and he learns from it. You see a guy in Phil Costa that doesn’t make the same mistake twice. That’s good to see.
“Like I said, he’s a prideful guy. He cares deeply about this team and his linemates. He’s doing the best job he possibly can. I’m real encouraged about his play.”
Callahan said the Cowboys straightened out the problem with Arkin’s shotgun snaps. He sent two sailing over the head of the quarterback in Saturday’s walk-through, and others were high enough that the quarterback had to reach.
“He’s done well under center. We haven’t had any exchange problems underneath,” Callahan said. “But once you get in the shotgun, it’s a little different because the center’s communicating, he’s making a lot of calls, he’s putting everybody on the same page. And then he’s got to snap it to a guy five yards deep. It has to be accurate within the framework of his body. So these are all new techniques for these guys, these kids. We continue to work on it. It could be better. No doubt about it.”
-- Carlos Mendez