Riley Reiff isn't taking anything for granted.

When the Lions drafted Reiff in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, he became the natural successor to Jeff Backus.

Backus retired in March after 12 seasons, so Reiff's time is now. But he's not looking ahead to being the starting left tackle just yet.

"Nothing's given," Reiff said after Wednesday's offseason team activity. "I don't know where I'm going to play. You've just got to go out there and work. You've got to earn what you get."

Work seems to be the theme for Reiff. In two brief interviews totaling 3 minutes Wednesday, he used the word "work" a dozen times, in part because that was the message Backus passed along when he retired.

"Jeff and me have been friends for years, and the main thing I picked up from him is just go to work every day," Reiff said. "It's as simple as that. There's no X's and O's, stuff like that. Just go to work."

During Wednesday's OTA, Reiff worked as the first-team left tackle, and unless something unexpected happens the next few months, the job should be his.

"When we drafted him, the reason we drafted him is we thought he was a long-term left tackle," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "Whether he can hold that position, whether he can be productive for us there, that will be determined, again, (in) training camp and preseason games and things like that. That's where he's going to settle in."

Whether his coaches are telling him to be cautious or Reiff is being humble, he's not ready to read into his spot with the starters. He also said he's willing to play wherever the coaches put him.

"It's OTAs," he said. "You've just got to keep working. You've got to stick to your fundamentals, technique and just get a better grasp of the offense. These are crucial days, and every period you get you've got to take advantage of it."

Reiff took advantage of his opportunities last year. He started in the Thanksgiving game against the Texans with Backus sidelined by a hamstring injury, and he played regularly throughout the season as a sixth offensive lineman, experience that helped him adjust to the NFL and gain the respect of his teammates.