Kevin Haslam Can Play It All

Kevin Haslam will compete on the offensive line. Right guard, left tackle, it makes no difference to him. It's precisely this sort of versatility that has gotten the Mahwah, NJ, native on the field at Rutgers, as he's shown an impressive ability to play nearly all over the field.

After Friday's practice, Haslam said he needs to improve his knowledge of the game.

"Last year I played left tackle towards the end, if not the most important position on the offensive line," Haslam, a redshirt senior, said. "You get a little of taste of how it was. Now, I'm trying to carry it over since it was towards the end of last season. I'm just trying to get focused, learn everything and make sure nobody hurts my quarterback."

Jeremy Zuttah, Mike Fladell and Pedro Sosa, three of Rutgers' revered linemen, who have since graduated, prepared Haslam for the collegiate level.

"It was a great feeling," Haslam said. "It's hard measuring up to them. They're great leaders. They really helped me a lot in my career. They got on me a lot. They wanted me to come along faster. They pushed me. It was nice playing next to Zuttah for the time I did."

Head coach Greg Schiano remains unflustered about returning Haslam to the starting O-line.

"The fact that he played three or four games last year, he played well and the side deal- early in his career he played everywhere so I don't think it's a big adjustment," Schiano said.

In fact, Haslam started at right guard for five games. Sophomore Anthony Davis replaced him the rest of the season. But, Haslam also earned time at left tackle, due to Sosa's injury, seeing action in all 13 games.

Haslam had competed in four contests the prior season. His job never changes from blocking for rusher Ray Rice, Mason Robinson or Kordell Young.

"I still have the same job to do," Haslam said. "It can be the worst RB, the best running back, I'm still playing the same, whether it's Ray or it's not."

Big East critics ranked Rutgers fourth in the preseason conference media poll. The average predictions do not discourage Haslam.

"People say what they want," he said. "We have to come out and play our best game. Obviously, it'll speak for itself. We can't change what people think. I'm not really fazed by what people say. It doesn't bother me."

A Mahwah, N.J. native, Haslam said he enjoys playing in the metropolitan area.

"It's fun playing," he said. "A lot of media. I'm from New Jersey, lot more coverage out here."

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