Brock: "Saturday is just about execution"

While the 2007 version of the Scarlet Knights' offense will go down as one of the most prolific in school history, the Tight End position had little to do with that success ... until the middle of the year rolled around. At that point, Jr. TE Kevin Brock solidified his grasp as member of the 1st team offense, and RU's offensive arsenal was ready to take it up a notch.

Senior TE Kevin Brock had lost his grasp as member of the 1st team offense. But sometime during the middle of '07, something clicked, evidenced by his fingertip TD catch that served as a knockout at Syracuse.  From that point on Brock became a staple of the Rutgers offense, much like fans had expected from the beginning of the year.  Brock, who is blessed with great size and athleticism, finished the season with 23 catches for 242 yards on the season, including a pair of touchdowns.

Rutgers Football Coach Greg Schiano alluded to Brock's coming out party in the Syracuse game during his pre-spring presser.  It seemed to simply eventually click for the Hackensack HS standout, Schiano stated.  But Brock offered a different perspective.

"I had slipped down the depth chart a little bit," stated Brock, in reference to, roughly, the first half of the season. "I had a talk with the coaches and they told me to keep working because at some point they are going to call me and I'm going to have to make a play. So, I just got back at it and kept working harder than before and they called my name. And I answered the call."

While the Mike Teel to Kevin Brock 32-yard pass play at 13:03 of the 4th quarter put the nail in the Orange's coffin, during game six of the season, it also signaled the start of Brock's comeback in '07.

"The turning point was weeks before that, in practice, when I started getting back in with the first team and I really started to show the coaches that they can trust me," said Brock. "Once I started to get more reps in practice, because, see, that's where you have to show it, because you win the game Monday through Thursday.  It's not about Saturday. Saturday is just about execution day. All those reps I had taken in practice, they paid off."

The Scarlet Knights will have to endure a battle in the offensive backfield, along the trenches, and at several other positions. Although Brock is currently on the 1st team, it hasn't stopped the Senior from focusing on aspects more commonly heard of from veterans.

"I have to be an example now. I'm old enough, I'm a senior and I have to be a leader for those guys. If they see me go out there and do the wrong thing, they may do the same thing and nobody will get better at that point," said Brock. 

With Brock's re-emergence into the starting lineup, and the re-emergence of the TE position, the Rutgers offense now adds additional potency to an already impressive arsenal.  The 2007 season produced a team that was able to score in excess of 300 points in a season, something that has happened on only 7 other occasions.

"It's like we say every day, we want to be the best and we're going to strive to accomplish that goal. I feel like this offense, like we as a team, can be at the top," said Brock.

A significant part of a TE's responsibilities, especially at Rutgers, include run-blocking in combination with the flash and glamour that comes along with catching passes.  It's one aspect of the game that has gotten Brock back on to the field and one that he continues to work on.

"I want to be known as a run blocker. Catching is the fun part of the game but the most important part of this offense, and in order to be a part of this offense, you've got to be able to block because we like to run the ball a lot. We've got all these good backs and you've really got to be able to do your job on the line of scrimmage before you can run around and catch passes."

"Right now my footwork is getting better, but that's got to get even better. Recognizing the defense a little bit better is also something I have to continue to work on.  I've got to be able to block better, and I'm working on running sharper routes," continued Brock.

Currently at 254-pounds, Brock hopes to get closer to 260-pounds by the end of the summer.  Until then, it's back to the drawing board - helping the younger guys acclimate, working on basic technique and generally, continuing to improve on every snap of the ball.

Matei may be reached at mgeorge@rutgersfootball.com



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