Hester Wearing Many Hats in Bolts Backfield

FB Jacob Hester (Chris Graythen/Getty)

Jacob Hester has a full plate -- and that's before lunch. The Chargers' third-round pick is being showered with a workload that is impressive. He's being asked to learn the running back and fullback positions, and all the responsibilities that come with them.

So far, Jacob Hester is receiving high marks as the Chargers continue their offseason coaching sessions.

"I'm doing a lot of different things but it something that I can handle," he said. "The coaches are putting their trust in me to learn it all. So I can't to get in the playbook and learn it all."

Hester will be asked to contribute quickly -- especially with veteran fullback Lorenzo Neal no longer part of the squad.

And Neal's backup, Andrew Pinnock, will spend much of his time backing up LaDainian Tomlinson with Michael Turner now in Atlanta.

That puts a lot of eyes on Hester, who is known for his versatility and hard-nose approach. One he can show off in these workouts in shirts and jerseys. But he can't prove his toughness by sticking his nose up in running lane or blasting someone to open a hole for another back.

"You can still do things in the passing game -- let them know you can run routes and catch," Hester said. "But as far as carrying the ball, it's hard for a running back or fullback to show anything. You can't break tackle and you can't get your hands on them. Once you get the pads on you will get a good feel for it."

Quarterback Philip Rivers agrees, but what he has seen in Hester is encouraging.

"He's not going to really shine -- I'm not saying he hasn't -- but he is a physical player, a bruiser and we are out here in helmets and shorts," he said. "You can't get a feel for a guy carrying the ball but what you can get a feel for is does he get lined up right? Does he have a knack for football? And that is very obvious when you watch him and that is what has impressed me."

Hester eyes a locker room filled with impressive players, including LaDainian Tomlinson and Rivers. But Hester stressed that no one has big-timed him just because he is a rookie -- just the opposite.

"The first day I walked in I was wondering how it was going to be," Hester said. "But they came up to me and helped me.

"In the first practice L.T. was in my ear helping me. And if I'm in there and I'm not quite sure, Philip is lining me up. They are great veteran and they really want to help me. And not every team is like that and I'm appreciative of it."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Veteran WR Eric Parker, who missed last season with a toe injury, continues to make progress. But he's not taking part much in the offseason coaching sessions. "I think he is doing good but we are being careful with him," coach Norv Turner said. "He feels better every week. But if he's not ready until training camp, then it's training camp. We know he can play but we just want to make sure he is right."

--Pro Bowl DT Jamal Williams continues to rest his knees -- both underwent arthroscopic surgery in the offseason. He's not participated in the team drills during practice.

--ILB Anthony Waters is moving around freely, not showing any signs of the knee injury that derailed his rookie season. "This year I'm confident in myself and I'm confident in my body," Waters said. "I'm ready to go. I feel like I can compete now."

--TE Antonio Gates continues with his rehab on his mending toe. He might not test it until training camp -- if then.

--DB Paul Oliver is being used at safety and as a nickel back -- either position is fine with him. "Whether I'm up pressing a guy or sitting back playing centerfield and reading the quarterback's eyes, I just want to be on the field," he said.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He looks great. I think if we had a game he would be in there leading us to a victory. He is throwing the ball great and moving around -- that is a great sign." -- Chargers rookie FB Jacob Hester on QB Philip Rivers bouncing back from knee surgery.

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