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Brisiel looking to be named a starter


Mike Brisiel will compete with Fred Weary in training camp to be the starting right guard for the Texans.

Right guard Mike Brisiel has been called a lot of things during his football career. At Colorado State, teammates nicknamed him "Biscuit" because of his country twang. In the Texans' locker room, Brisiel was referred to as "Money Mike" when he moved up from the practice squad.

In 2008, he could earn a new label that sticks: starter.

It would be a big step for a player who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2006 and spent nearly two years on the practice squad. But Brisiel already made great strides last season when he was signed to the active roster in December to replace starting guard Fred Weary, who suffered a fractured tibia and fibula against Tennessee.

"I was just filling in and I did the best I could," a humble Brisiel said. "That's all they asked of me."

Brisiel exceeded the team's expectations. He won a starting spot over guard Kasey Studdard in his first week of practice. In his first career NFL game, Brisiel recorded a solo tackle after a Texans' turnover in a win over Tampa Bay. Brisiel started the final four games of 2007 and did not allow a sack and committed only one penalty.

"You talk about a guy who was on the practice squad his whole rookie year and 12 weeks in (2007) he was on the practice squad, then two freak injuries happen and they ask him to step in and compete with Kasey and he ends up winning the job during the week," right tackle Eric Winston said. "He ends up starting and he played so well that they couldn't take him out."

{QUOTE}With the team in the middle of OTAs and Weary still on the sidelines, Brisiel is taking full advantage of playing with the first team.

"He's playing like a starter," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "He got a chance last year. He played extremely well. He's doing that every day out here. So it's going to be a tough job for somebody to get back from him."

Brisiel has been quick to learn the offensive line's zone-blocking scheme under assistant head coach Alex Gibbs. The 6-5, 300-pound guard ran a similar system in college and boasts an ideal build for the scheme because he is quick enough to get to the second level and get after linebackers.

"It fits me because I'm not a humongous guy," Brisiel said. "So I've got to use all the quickness, which isn't much, that I have. It's a good fit for myself."

Brisiel's self-deprecating humor and modest demeanor don't hide the fact that he has become a leader by example on the offensive line.

"He works so hard," Winston said. "He's a little bit of a leader out here. He's an example, taking notes in meetings and working as hard as possible. And it really pays off for him."

Brisiel will give Weary, a seventh-year pro, a run for his money when the two compete during training camp for starting duties. Weary is considered to be about 80 percent healthy right now and is predicted to be at full strength by the end of July.

"Right now, Fred's injured so it's kinda tough, but once he gets back in training camp it will be a lot of fun because that's when all the great plays come out," Brisiel said. "That's when you've got the good competition. Everybody knows that Fred Weary is the best competition for anyone."

Brisiel said that it helps that he has developed a strong chemistry with the linemen on either side of him, Winston and center Chris Myers.

"They're good guys," Brisiel said. "We hang out off the field now. Everybody's friends. I think we understand how each other play. We are just a good fit together."

And they aren't going to stop using the nicknames, even if Brisiel grabs hold of the starting spot.

"We coined him 'Money Mike Brisiel' last year because he was making some money and also because I think he's the tightest person I've ever met in my life," Winston said. "I think he probably still has every paycheck he's ever had saved up in his bank account. We have a lot of different nicknames for him, but he's definitely earned it being out here."

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