INDIANAPOLIS – As OTAs open up Tuesday afternoon, this will mark the first chance for Andrew Luck and Khaled Holmes to get extended work in 11-on-11 settings.
This time last year, Holmes was in the process of getting back to full speed after an ankle injury hindered his senior season at USC.
Now, he's getting the first crack at the open center competition.
"I'm definitely much more comfortable this year for a number of reasons and I feel much further ahead of where I was last year," Holmes said last week.
"It's good to finally be working on real snap stuff with Andrew and communication up front with guys across the front."
The veterans and rookies together on the field for a great offseason workout.
Ask Anthony Castonzo how important that communication is from the middle of the line and he will get brutally honest.
Castonzo watched Holmes ask intelligent questions in the offensive line meeting room last year, even if the rookie knew that his playing time was going to be limited.
That, along with a more physically developed Holmes, has Castonzo himself feeling comfortable for the potential starting center.
"Just coming back, you can see he's in much better shape than when he came in last year," Castonzo said of Holmes. "To see that he put in that work is reassuring.
"For me as a tackle, the most important thing is he tells me what to do. He's got to keep everybody on the same page. We have to have a confidence and trust in him to be able to believe what he's saying and just follow what calls he makes."
When the Colts chose Holmes in the fourth-round of the 2013 draft, they were getting a player who had started for three years at USC (two years at center).
Numerous mock drafts had the Colts adding a center to join Holmes in the competition to replace Samson Satele in 2014.
The Colts passed on a true center, and Ryan Grigson reiterated they feel Holmes has the ability to be the team's starting center.
"Because we've done our homework. Because we're the ones that have studied," Grigson said of why he's confident in Holmes. "We're the ones that have watched all the film and not just 10 YouTube clips. We went into the school, had multiple scouts watch him, had our o-line coach work him out. Thirty-seven starts at USC, it's not like it's 'Whatsa Matta U'. It's a pretty good program.
"We took Khaled in the fourth round because we believed that eventually he could be the guy. Even in the 12 snaps he played (in 2013), they were 12 pretty good snaps. We saw him for a whole year of practice, do one-on-ones. Now he's going to be in the mix."
OTAs will be the next chance for Holmes to take a grasp of the Colts starting center spot.
That grasp won't have a chance to become a firm hold until the pads are strapped on in Anderson for training camp.
"We're up front with everybody in the building and (Holmes) still has to perform at a high level," Grigson says.
"He's got to. Everyone has to. To do what we want to do, everyone has to ascend to a championship level of play. That's the goal."