"We're only as strong as our weakest link"

LB Damaso Munoz came in with a week left in camp and learned a new position. The transition didn't prove to be hard for him as he finished third on the team in tackles, including three double-digit tackle games. Now with 2007 in the mirror, he has to compete with Ryan D'Imperio for the starting job.

Just as camp was near the end last year, Rutgers found itself with a major hole that needed to be filled immediately.

The Scarlet Knights were without a middle linebacker and asked Damaso Munoz to slide over from the outside to fill the void. Making such a move with not much time to prepare was hard, but it was easier than it would be for others because he was a linebacker who was just sliding over.

"It was kind of tough at first," Munoz said. "But a lot of the stuff carried over and I got used to it during the season."

If the move was hard, it didn't show as Munoz finished third on the team with 67 total tackles. He was able to create havoc in the backfield with seven tackles behind the line, which was good for first on the team by non-defensive linemen. His best statistical games were against Navy, Maryland and Pittsburgh where he posted double-digit tackles in each.

The most emotional game he was in was when South Florida came to Piscataway ranked second in the nation on a Thursday night in October. A Miami, Fl. native, Munoz played against a bunch of his friends in the game and was able to upset them on a nationally televised ESPN game.

"Being able to talk trash to all my friends was a great experience," Munoz said. "And them being the No. 2 team in the country and knocking them off in our stadium was a great experience."

Even though he showed he can play the ‘mike' last year, he's in a battle with Ryan D'Imperio for the spot this year. Munoz doesn't mind and considers the competition a good thing because he said it will only make the program stronger and keep him on his toes everyday.

"We're always trying to help each other out," Munoz said on his competition and friendship with D'Imperio. "We're only as strong as our weakest link so we have to be strong as a core together."

Camp has been pretty good so far for Munoz, but he knows he has to keep at it everyday and find a way to improve if he wants a chance to start again.

"I just have to approach it everyday and try to get better and better," he said.

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