Brock assuming leadership role

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Imagine this scenario: You are competing in D-I collegiate football, assigned to block a defensive lineman who weighs about 30 pounds more than you do. That's what Rutgers' Kevin Brock encountered during the transition from a 6'5" 190-pound wide receiver to a 254-pound tight end.

Now in his fifth and final year of eligibility, Brock has reached that necessary weight, enabling him to not only compete physically, but also contribute offensively.

"First I had to get my weight up," Brock said after last Tuesday's spring practice. "I was about 218 when I first moved over. That's a big difference, blocking 250-pound guys at 218 than it is at 250. But once I got the weight on me, it got easier."

Brock started out as a run blocker and on short yardage and goal line situations. After serving in primarily back-up roles during his first few years, last season served as a turning point for the now veteran Scarlet Knight.

"About mid-season last year, he made a turn," Schiano said. "He's kept that going, relatively consistently. The week leading up to the practice, he went out and performed better. (We'll take it) anytime you get positive reinforcement from your efforts."

When asked if something stuck out in Schiano's mind about Brock's mid-season improvement, he responded, "There was nothing, just the things we ask tight ends to do."

Brock may have taken more time to adjust to positions, but he finally learned the run-blocking and route-running necessary for the Scarlet Knights' success.

What changed last year?

"Level of focus, preparation, doing what in the coaches' eyes was good, doing it the way they asked exactly, getting the job done like I was supposed to," Brock said.

Any differences in running against defensive backs and linebackers?

"It feels like a mismatch, a little bit," Brock stated.

When Brock is not reviewing homework or studying for exams, he is analyzing film and finds himself lifting weights.

"I have to be in the film room every chance I get," he said. "You have to work out, tough lifts every day, you have to get stronger."

"And talking to the coaches, understanding different things the defenses do, different rotations and understanding football as a whole game," Brock added.

Frustrated by last season's record of 8-5, Brock knows that his team can improve as well.

"Eight wins is definitely not what we want as a team," he said. "We are definitely looking to improve upon that by a lot."

Individually, Brock wants to "be as important to the offense as I can be."

He finished 2007 with 23 receptions and 241 yards in the air, but looks to improve upon both of those numbers.

"Yeah, there's a lot more pressure," he said. "I'm a leader and have to lead by the example for the other guys."

From wide receiver to tight end, Brock has demonstrated he's capable of bruising defenses and preventing them from reaching quarterback Mike Teel.

"Kevin's getting better every day," Schiano said.

Notes: Brock certainly caught my attention in his spin-move on middle linebacker Manny Abreu on Tuesday, yet described the play modestly.

"He over-pursued a little bit," Brock said of Abreu. "I peaked out, he was over there and (I) turned back inside."

Brock realizes there's competition for the second-string tight end.

"And there's a battle for the position behind me as well," he said.

Regarding the downhill running game, Brock admitted he felt no extra pressure blocking for Mason Robinson, Kordell Young and the slew of potential ball carriers in the Knights' backfield.

"No, we got three or four great backs competing for a position. Everyone one of those guys is capable of toting the rock."

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