Forst Making Mental Transition to Center

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Art Forst is taking his new role in the Rutgers offense very seriously. But that doesn't mean the senior offensive lineman doesn't see the humor in a 6-foot-8 center. Forst, who never runs out of personality, discussed his move to center one-on-one with after the spring game ...

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Senior Art Forst can't help but laugh at his situation. Neither can his former teammates when they heard the 6-foot-8, 311-pound offensive lineman took reps at center last week.

"[Former starting center] Ryan Blaszczyk was around the other day and he found it very comical that I was playing center," Forst said.

The biggest ribbing, however, came from one of the biggest former offensive linemen in the program. Anthony Davis, a 2010 first-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers, could not keep a straight face at the spring game when he looked his former teammate, Forst said.

"He thought it was hysterical that I was playing center," Forst said. "Every time he looked at me, he would just laugh at me. He'd be like, ‘man, I never thought…' But you know what? I never thought either. Not until Thursday."

In the Scarlet Knights' final practice, last Thursday before the spring game, Forst took his first reps as a center. The Manasquan High School product has starting experience at left guard, right guard and right tackle and practice experience at left tackle.

In Forst's mind, why not complete the set?

"It was news to me on Thursday," Forst said on the position change. "But, you know, it's alright. Yeah, I like it. Whatever I have to do to make us better, I'll do. If that's what it is, I'm all for it."

Forst's position change came about because of the loss of Dallas Hendrikson. The JuCo transfer from Iowa Western Community College went down with a knee injury six days ago. Hendrikson has to miss the entire season after a knee surgery, which takes place after he finishes his final exams.

The injury to Hendrikson led to sophomore David Osei starting with the first team in the spring game. Forst and fifth-year senior Caleb Ruch are the likely candidates for the backup job going into camp.

"Without a doubt, I'm hitting the study-books to learn center," Forst said on his early summer plans. "Dallas' injury was unfortunate, so we need depth at center. That's what I have to do. I need to know the position well and be able to make the calls efficiently."

Forst said the physical aspect of center, despite the awkwardness of his height in a position typically for the shortest member of the offensive line, is not a problem so far.

"I'm almost positive I'm the biggest center in college football and probably the NFL as well," Forst said. "I don't have any problems. It really doesn't feel uncomfortable for me. It might be more uncomfortable for the quarterbacks, but I think that I bend so well that it doesn't really matter."

Forst, who considers himself a very cerebral player, said the mental aspect of the position is the toughest adjustment.

"There's a difference between knowing the call and then having to make the call," Forst said. "It's very different. I mean, I didn't think it would be as much different, but, you'll come up to the line of scrimmage knowing what to do and then you're like ‘oh right' I have to say it. You have to know it and then you have to tell everyone else what to do."

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