Mason Gentry comfortable with position switch in Commanders camp
By Cole Thompson, San Antonio Commanders Team Reporter
SAN ANTONIO — Mason Gentry is coming into his own as the San Antonio Commanders finish their second week of training camp. Known for his ability to pressure quarterbacks, the former defensive end is now looking to earn a starting job protecting them.
While still learning his way in pass protection as an offensive guard, Gentry understands the process that goes through a defensive lineman’s head, helping him grow throughout each practice.
“It has its ups and downs for sure,” Gentry said. “Obviously, the experience side is going to be on the down side for me, but knowing what they’re looking for in us and what they’re going to do in certain situations in certain stances definitely helps me out.”
A three-year starter for the SMU Mustangs (2014-17), Gentry piled together an impressive resume coming off the edge. Collecting 107 career tackles, eight tackles for losses and 4.5 total sacks, the burly defender had the resume’ to perhaps move inside on defense to continue his playing career at the next level.
His speed off the snap however hurt his stock, forcing him to go undrafted during the 2018 NFL draft. After signing with the Houston Texans, he was asked to move to the other side of the ball to help him grow as a well-rounded player.
“It was something that had been brought to me a lot of times throughout college,” Gentry said. “I had coaches tell me they wanted me to switch, but we didn’t have the depth on the defensive line to do it. After I arrived in Houston with the Texans this summer, we just thought it would be best.”
Training with offensive line coach Mike Devlin, Gentry traded in his swat-and-swim hands for pass protection ones. Working as a guard, the former Mustang looked to improve his overall footwork and hand usage, hoping to make the Texans’ final 53-man roster.
After four preseason games, Gentry was waived in the cutdown to 53 players on Sept. 1. He then spent the final month of the season on the Cleveland Browns practice squad. Thanks to the allocation rules set in place with The Alliance, the young offensive lineman has made his way down to San Antonio to better hone his craft moving forward.
“A guy that isn’t as experienced or has enough tape as some other people is what this league is for,” Gentry said. It gives me a chance to go out there, get more experience, more reps, more film and put it out for NFL teams to keep my chances alive.”
Switching things over is natural for Gentry as he has been through this process before. After moving schools from Georgia, he was ruled ineligible to play baseball, his first love, due to his home still being on the market. Electing to play football his junior season, Gentry automatically found success at the new sport.
He hopes the same results can happen for him on the offensive line but understands the process is easier said than done on paper.
“Offensive line is just very, very fine technique,” Gentry said. “At first it was tough but it’s starting to come along now. I think I’ve progressed a lot since I started this summer.”
The San Antonio Commanders are in training camp throughout January. The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season begins Saturday, February 9, when the Commanders host the San Diego Fleet at the Alamodome. You can get your tickets at: SanAntonioCommanders.com/tickets