Daniel Marquardt Back Where He "Belongs"

No one was more surprised than defensive lineman <b>Daniel Marquardt</b> when he discovered he was listed at defensive end for fall practice.

"They didn't tell me that they were going to switch me to defensive end. I just went in the first day and it really surprised me. It was tough because I've never played defensive end in my life, but learning the position gives me more versatility and you have a better chance at playing in the NFL knowing two different positions."

With fellow sophomore defensive tackle Manaia Brown out with a shoulder injury, he was switched back to his customary position at nose tackle. "Oh, I'm a lot more comfortable in the middle. I'm back where I belong and where I feel I can contribute most to the team," he told TotalBlueSports.com today.

The biggest difference in playing nose guard and defensive end is all in the head. "The mindset is the primary difference. At defensive end, the mindset is just to get up the field as fast as possible. On the inside, you have a lot more lateral options. I'm much more comfortable on the inside because that's where I've played all my life."

Marquardt noted that playing nose guard in Bronco Mendenhall's scheme compared to Ken Schmidt's system. "Last year on with most schemes, I'm only playing against one person. In Mendenhall's scheme, I'm playing against the whole offensive front. In the past, I'd just watch the guard and go off whatever he does. Everything I do would be in reaction to how one player was blocking me and I'd just concentrate on beating the guard."

Not anymore. "Learning to react is the biggest challenge and the most important thing in Mendenhall's defense. You have to react to a greater variety of players than just the guard you're going up against in most traditional fronts. I'm not bull-rushing as much either. I probably straight bull-rush (now) maybe 15% of the time. There's just a lot more reads and variables involved, but I'm enjoying it. It's a challenge, but it's good to have a challenge."

Marquardt joins Ifo Pili and hobbled Manaia Brown battling for minutes at the nose guard position this fall. Brown was evaluated yesterday after a MRI. They give him a shot to help him recover so he'll be able to play this season.

Head coach Gary Crowton said, "They're going to give him a shot in the shoulder. They're going to go in there to see where it's torn and give him a shot to help the pain and so that he'll be able to play this year. He'll have surgery at the end of the year."

Crowton added: "It will take some time for the shot to start to heal where he's sore, but hopefully it will be soon."

FALL PRACTICE NOTES:

The team practiced kick and punt coverage quite a bit today with Nate Soelberg, Toby Christensen, David Christensen and Micah Alba taking turns returning punts. David Christensen and Reynaldo Brathwaite took most of the reps returning punts.

The team finished practice with a two-minute offense drill. The highlights included Matt Berry hitting Rod Wilkerson in stride on a 40-yard fly pattern just short of the end zone. Josh Brandon also picked off a John Beck pass and returned it for a touchdown.

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