With the release of veteran center Casey Rabach, Will Montgomery is back in his natural position.

Montgomery started seven of the last eight games at right guard for the Washington Redskins last season, impressing the coaching staff with his tenacity. In an attempt to upgrade the offensive line by getting younger, the coaching staff moved Montgomery, 28, back to center, the same position he played at Virginia Tech.

“When Will stepped in here he competed. He battled,” Redskins Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan said earlier this week. “It doesn’t always look clean, but he fights you to the end. It is going to be a long day for whoever he is going against. He’s strong, he’s feisty, and he cares as much as you can care.”

Montgomery was projected to win the starting right guard position for the 2011 season until this week’s cut. Last year’s experience didn’t go to waste. If anything, his playing time under Shanahan’s scheme has helped him make a smoother transition during this week’s training camp.

“Obviously being here last year, I know the calls and I think everybody in general, with a year under their belt, is more comfortable with the system,” Montgomery said. “I like playing center. After practicing it the last couple days, I would like to be the guy. I have all camp to prove that I am the guy.”

Through the first two days at training camp, Montgomery is receiving an ample amount of opportunities to campaign for the starting center position, taking snaps with the first team and quarterback John Beck. His key to maintaining the No. 1 spot is the same philosophy he has followed over the last four years.

“Sooner or later, it’s either you’re going to take coaching or you’re going to be out of the league,” Montgomery said. “So I’ve taken coaching and each year, I think I’ve gotten better.”