Kory Lichtensteiger, center, and Chris Chester limber up before practice. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

RICHMOND — Among the lessons Kory Lichtensteiger has learned this offseason are: Gaining weight is a lot easier than losing it; and it’s a lot more enjoyable.

That was among the Redskins lineman’s assignments after the Redskins released center Will Montgomery and first-year coach Jay Gruden shifted the 6-foot-2, 284-pound Lichtensteiger from left guard to center.

In doing so, Gruden restored the Bowling Green product to his natural position, one he played primarily in college, but wanted him to bulk up a bit.

So Lichetensteiger adopted what he calls a “Don’t-say-no-to-anything” diet that featured a lot more snacking. Not particularly scientific, but it did the trick, enabling him to reach 292 pounds.

That’s still a bit lean in an era in which 300-pound linemen are the norm rather than exception. And this week it means surrendering roughly 30 pounds to New England’s massive defensive linemen, such as 325-pound Vince Wilfork.

Coach Jay Gruden likes what he has seen.

“He anchored very well against one of the best nose guards in football this week, and that was a great test for him,” Gruden said, “so I feel good where we are at center.”

Heft is hardly the only job requirement of an NFL center, who’s charged with the pre-snap reads.

On that point, Gruden says he’s satisfied, too, calling Lichtensteiger “one of the pleasant surprises in camp,” praising his grasp of blocking schemes.

“I was a little concerned myself moving a guard over to center, but he’s a natural center,” Gruden said. “He’s got great movement. He gets up to the next level effortlessly. He’s made all the calls.”

As fifth-year veteran Shawn Lauvao, Lichtensteiger’s successor at left guard, the Redskins center has high praise, calling him not only athletic but “really strong and really smart.”

“I think you can expect to see a great performance from him — maybe a Pro Bowl performance,” he said.

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

The Redskins and Patriots open the preseason Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at FedEx Field. The game airs on NBC-4 and CSN, and The Insider will host an open thread for those who want to chat while they watch.

Also from The Post:

Biggers happy to take on any role in the secondary | Rambo still trying to find his way

Garcon, Clark and Thomas won’t play Thursday | Gruden’s simple expectations

Ex-grad assistant Davis impressing coaches | Jackson leaves practice with an ankle injury

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