Tverdov Looking To Anchor Rutgers DLine

This is DT Pete Tverdov's final year with the Scarlet Knights. With three years worth of experience under his belt, he's starting to understand the game like a true veteran. The fast-paced game is starting to slow down to his speed and he's starting to take on more of a leadership role.

"I think everything's slowed down a bit for me," Tverdov said on how it feels to be a senior. "I went with a different approach this off-season. I tried to take care of my body more. I try to take everything in now. All the little things like sharing laughs in the film room and just walking down the hallway because I know 12 months from now I won't be here and I'll miss it."

Now being a senior, Tverdov became more of a leader on the defensive line. After the International Bowl last year, he tried to get the line to play as one unit. His main goal is to get the front four to become a cohesive unit because to him, the team goes as far as the D-line goes.

"I think we have a lot of talent," he said. "If we gel together we can be a really good d-line and that's my main goal."

One of the steps he's taking to ensure that is the tutoring of junior Blair Bines. Bines made the transition from linebacker to defensive tackle to start camp and Tverdov was one of the guys he went to for guidance on how to make the adjustment. Tverdov thinks the former linebacker has a lot of physical talent and the tools to make it as an interior lineman, but is showing him all the techniques gradually because it's a lot to take in such a short period of time.

"I'm trying to go slow with him because it's a lot to digest," Tverdov said. "Hands, foot work, and take little baby steps."

Hard work is something that Tverdov appears to be about. The Union, N.J. native won the 2007 David Bender Trophy as the top defensive lineman in spring practices, and in 2008 won the Frank R. Burns Award for displaying extraordinary mental and physical toughness during the spring camp. Those trophies are a step in the right direction, but one of his top goals is to get it done on the playing field, more so than he did last season.

For that goal to be achieved this upcoming season, they're two things he needs to work on.

"Stay healthy," he said, "and continues to work on the tenacity of my pass rush."

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