Westerman Makes a move from DE to DT

PISCATAWAY, N.J.— The Rutgers University football program competed in its first full contact inside the bubble yesterday. After maintaining the end position for two, defensive lineman Jamaal Westerman feels comfortable changing to the tackle to accommodate head coach Greg Schiano and the Scarlet Knights depth issues.

"The block's a lot different," Westerman said. "The offensive linemen are a lot heavier on their block. I have to keep playing through it and if I get better at tackle, I think that'll make me a better defensive end also."

However, there are resemblances in the two positions, footsteps and footpaths.

"It's similar in those ways, but it is a different position," Westerman said. "I am going to use my quickness, communicate, and try to get better."

Westerman, one of eight fifth-year seniors on the roster, earned second team Big East honors for his efforts last season, including a team-leading eight sacks.

When asked about earning a sack from the tackle rather than the outside, he said, "I don't know."

"You also have to contain the ball (on the end), so with a tackle, you have a two-way go. I'm not really sure."

While Westerman may struggle at the new position, he's excited about the upcoming campaign.

"I'm enjoying being out here playing football," Westerman said. "I'm a senior now, just enjoying being out here with the guys."

Schiano has temporarily shifted Westerman inside, but has not declared the move permanent.

"We were spoiled for a long time with Eric Foster," Schiano told reporters yesterday. "Hopefully, if it works out, West can be that guy for us."

Recruited out of Florida, Foster provided the Knights with an All-American caliber effort, especially during their marvelous 2006 run.

Scarlet Knights supporters and viewers across the country remember Foster's post-game locker room speech after the team defeated South Florida on the road that season.

Foster has since graduated, leaving Westerman as the potential replacement to anchor the d-line.

"He's doing a good job down there," Schiano said of Westerman. "We wouldn't make a move unless there was a need."

Westerman remains confident about the incoming younger prospects despite the loss of several future NFL competitors, including running back Ray Rice.

"We have a lot of talent," he said. "That's the only way to take the program to where want to. If everyone comes here and play hard, getting better day by day."

Westerman knows the significance of his experience and importance to the youth, but maintains his dominance on the field.

"You have to make sure that you handle your business because if you're not handling your play, they're not going to look up to you."


Rutgers recruited Jamaal's younger brother Jawann, who redshirted in 2007.

"Maybe, I'll look over to see what he's doing, but he's his own man and I try to let him get his own space and feeling," Jamaal said of his younger sibling, a future wide receiver. "I'll be gone after this year and hopefully he becomes his own individual, does his own thing."

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