Holmes to Make First Home Start

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Junior defensive tackle Isaac Holmes waited a long time for his first career start, but it finally came last week against Tulane. Set for his home debut as a starter. Holmes went 1-on-1 with ScarletReport.com earlier this week to discuss his first start.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The first career start for nose tackle Isaac Holmes resulted in holding Tulane to a measly eight rushing yards.

With one start, two tackles and a blocked extra point under his belt, Holmes wants to be fed more against Howard Saturday at High Point Solutions Stadium.

"I think this home game is going to be pretty fun. I'm finally back on the home field in my home state and everything like that," Holmes said. "To see the fans for my first start in my home stadium, I'm going to have to come out early in pregame and get my mind right. It's going to be a special moment in what should be a packed crowd."

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Hoboken High (N.J.) product did not see much of the field in his first three years at Rutgers. Holmes shoed enough at defensive tackle in the spring to make the staff comfortable with Scott Vallone moving to the 3-technique position.

In Holmes' first game as a nose tackle, he was dominant in the eyes of the 2011 co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year.

"He's going to definitely enforce his will on a lot of people this year as he did [against Tulane]," said outside linebacker Khaseem Greene, who had a game-high 14 tackles. "Guys can't block him. You look at him and see how big he is, when you see how well he moves, I think he's doing a really good job embracing a role as a starter and becoming a leader. I'm excited to see him play this year and with the rest of his eligibility."

Holmes spent three years as a practice player, but is not surprised the transition to starting nose tackle feels so natural.

"I've taken so many reps in practice that the game just felt the same," Holmes said. "Coach [Kyle] Flood gets us so prepared that when you're out there, it feels just like practice. Having Scott [Vallone] next to me in that game atmosphere, that was fun. He gets the whole defensive line to play a lot faster."

The biggest adjustment, Holmes said, was not the playing time, but overcoming the excitement of starting a game for the Scarlet Knights.

"It was a new experience," Holmes said. "To be one of the guys to go out with the first string after watching them for so many years, I thought it was fun. I went out early in pregame and everything like that to get all the butterflies out and all the nervousness. By the time it was time to go, I was just ready to play. I looked at it like playing hard. It wasn't about me starting. If you look at it like that, you're in trouble."

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