After arriving on campus in June, freshman Darvin Ruise 6'2" 230 quickly began the transformation from high school QB to major college LB. Ruise impressed during fall camp, but playing LB for Missouri demands a lengthy period of assimilation and training, and Ruise spent the 2010 season working on the scout team, and honing his defensive skills. Now that bowl practices are underway, Ruise is taking reps for the Missouri defense at WLB, and he's quickly making another positive impression. The intelligent and articulate Ruise took a few minutes to visit with ShowMeMizzou about playing LB for the Tigers.
"It's just great! It's good to get acclimated back into the defense," said Ruise, of the bowl practices. "Taking a year to learn my fundamentals, and to get better at a position that I have never played. I think the coaches made a wise decision in red-shirting me, and getting me prepared for the next season, to be able to contribute. It's a great feeling to be back, and to have a feeling of team, you know, you're with your team again. Instead of running the plays of the opposing team, you're actually getting used to being acclimated into our scheme of things. It's been a blessing to be back, and get kind of familiar with our defense again."
As a young LB at Missouri, Ruise is learning all three LB positions.
"But, most of my reps are at the weak-side linebacker position," said Ruise. "I feel like I've grown in that position.................... And, not only at that position, but as an overall football player."
"I think for that position, I kind of bring a different type of speed to that position," said Ruise, responding to my question about what he sees as his primary asset. "For a guy my size, I feel like I move pretty well for my size, you know, getting to the ball, and getting into my drops, or just pursuing the quarterback on the blitz, or pursuing my reads. So, I feel like I bring a lot of speed to that position."
When I pointed out to Ruise that Coach Pinkel had cautioned him during practice to tone it down, on a day when the team was not in full pads, and contact restrictions were in place, he seemed a little embarrassed, and let out a little laugh.
"Yeah. I was getting after it," explained Ruise. "I'm a very physical guy. So, I just bring what I can to the table to contribute."
"I feel like I've got to work on just knowing my keys, and reading my keys, and being a leader out there," began Ruise, in response to my question about what he needs to do to improve. "You know, just being acclimated to the defense, and learning my keys. Just playing ball. Just playing ball. Just getting out there where I don't have to think so much."
Ruise is excited about accompanying his teammates to Arizona, for the Insight Bowl. And, he's looking forward to getting back for the off-season workouts, and the competition for positions afforded by spring ball.
"It's going to be all out," said Ruise. "The cards get reshuffled, come here in a little while, and I'm trying to put my name in the hat."