Morning sports update: Matt Light says Patriots will struggle to replace ‘ridiculously large mammal’ Nate Solder

Nate Solder
Former Patriots left tackle Matt Light said the Patriots won't find it easy to replace his successor, Nate Solder. –Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Xander Bogaerts hit a three-run homer over the Monster and J.D. Martinez added a two-run shot as the Red Sox avoided their first series sweep of the season. Chris Sale gave up two hits and struck out nine in Boston’s 6-4 victory over the Oakland A’s on Wednesday night.

Matt Light says Patriots will struggle to replace ‘ridiculously large mammal’ Nate Solder

In 2012, the Patriots lost their three-time Super Bowl champion left tackle to retirement and a second-year player became Tom Brady’s full-time blindside protector. That lineman, Nate Solder, capably filled Matt Light’s shoes, winning two Super Bowls of his own. Now the Patriots are seeking a successor to Solder, and Light says it won’t be easy to find the next-in-line.

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“As far as fans, and how they view this season with respect to the loss to a guy like Nate, Nate’s not a guy you can just replace. No. 1, because he’s a ridiculously large mammal,” Light told ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

Solder, 6-foot-8 and 325 pounds, spent seven years in New England before signing a four-year, $62-million contract with the New York Giants as a free agent in March. Light split time with him when Solder was a rookie in 2011 as the Patriots reached the Super Bowl, where they lost to Solder’s new team.

“From the first time I met him,” Light recalled, “I thought, ‘Man, this just shouldn’t be right that big guys like this are designed the way they are.’ No fat. Runs like a deer. Got the reach and wingspan of a vulture. The guy is just unbelievably talented in so many ways, and he’s smart, a cerebral player. You don’t replace a guy like that overnight.”

To do so, Dante Scarnecchia and the Patriots might have to insert another rookie into the left tackle slot on the line. Isaiah Wynn, the Patriots’ first round pick (No. 23 overall) is in the running for the role, as is Trent Brown, acquired from the 49ers, and LaAdrian Waddle.

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“They have some guys that have had a little experience and have seen some stuff, but overall it looks as though you’re going to be going with a guy that may have zero experience in the NFL,” Light said. “Who knows how it all shakes out?” (ESPN)

Jim Calhoun says he expects to coach Saint Joseph in 2018: Calhoun, the legendary UConn coach, has been helping to build a new basketball program at the University of Saint Joseph, a Division III school in Hartford. Although he recently signed a deal to continue as an advisor for the Huskies, but plans on doing both jobs.

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“I fully expect to coach Saint Joe’s next year,” he said. “I fully expect to and then we’ll leave it at that.” (Boston.com)

Blake Swihart’s agent asks Red Sox for trade: Swihart confirmed that his agent, Brodie Scoffield, requested that the Red Sox trade him, and said that the request reflects his desire for more playing time. But the 26-year-old catcher/utility player says he remains focused on helping the Red Sox win.

“I just want to let everyone know, I’m still here, I’m focused on being here,” he said. (Boston.com)

Jayson Tatum, Brad Stevens named finalists for NBA awards: The NBA announced that Stevens is a finalist for the Coach of the Year award, while Tatum is up for Rookie of the Year. There are three finalists for each award, including one Coach of the Year candidate who’s already been fired. (Boston.com)

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