Ruch's pre-RU experience worth weight in gold

Caleb Ruch's decision to attend Rutgers may have had little to do with early playing time. However, the former Quakertown Community HS standout and current Scarlet Knight now finds himself as a starting member of an offensive line that during the previous pair of seasons has been one of the nation's best.

Caleb Ruch was recruited to Rutgers as a Center. He certainly had the build and strength to play the position, but his versatility has seen him make the move to right guard [RG], a position of need for the Scarlet Knights.

"It's been pretty good so far," stated Ruch roughly midway through summer camp. "We've put in a lot of effort and enthusiasm and I think we're heading in the right direction right now."

Having played on the defensive line and on the outside of the offensive line in high school, Ruch had to undergo an adjustment in '07, a season that saw him retain the backup's center role. This season, he's made the switch to RG and the one facet of his game that seems most stout and may become most beneficial for RU in '08 - pass protection.

With Anthony Davis having served as the starting RG during the 2007 campaign, in addition to pass-protection, one of the chief responsibilities of said lineman as the ability to pull. AD, as he is affectionately known, was devastating as a pulling Guard, creating gaping holes for Ray Rice and leaving would-be blockers flat on the ground, wondering what hit them. With AD making the switch to LT, the pulling responsibilities now fall squarely on the redshirt Frosh. Caleb Ruch.

"As long as I'm on the right track, because sometimes I won't get deep enough on my pull or I'll turn my hips to the wrong area, but when I pull the correct way it's usually with okay results."

There may very well be a decreased emphasis on the aforementioned running scheme given the graduation of Ray Rice and with a now healthy Mike Teel, but Ruch states that he must be ready for any- and everything.

"If they [staff] call the play, I've got to do my best to knock people around, so if they call it [for a RG pull] I have to perform at my best level."

Given the high profile situation that Rutgers Football finds itself these days, the art of communication is itself at a premium. Often times, in noisy stadiums, communication between staff and players, and among players themselves, may be relegated to nothing more than a few signals. Ruch, as it turns out, has had plenty of hands-on-training in this arena for some time prior to his arrival at Rutgers. His church missions to less developed countries in Latin America required him to adapt to certain situations where the skill of speaking is rendered useless.

"Going to a foreign country, I didn't understand their language while I was down there, so there are a lot of barriers you have to get past," stated Ruch.

"The language barrier for example, when I'm trying to communicate with people down there, I couldn't just have conversations with them. You'd have to make hand motions and make actions of what we were trying to say to each other without actually talking. So, I think it helped me better understand. If the coach says something, but then shows it to us, I watch that really attentively. When I was down there I was unable to speak the language and you had to watch what they were doing to try to understand how they were communicating. So I think it makes you a better learner."

A better learner and perhaps a better teammate. One well aware of the camaraderie necessary for winning teams to have. This characteristic is likely most significant for the offensive line.

"We're a tight-knit group. During the sumer we'd hang out with each other, we'd go out to eat, and we've been doing a lot of stuff together to help us as a group, to be a tight-knit group, because we have to stick together during a game. If we come apart at all, bad things can happen to the people behind us. We've just been working a lot. We laugh a lot together and do a lot of stuff that builds unity."

Despite the current youth on the 2008 version of the Rutgers Football offensive line, the overall talent level and depth may surpass that of any recent OL unit. Most importantly, however, is the willingness to work together toward a common goal, and likewise, to work for one another.

"I would just like to go out there and play my hardest for the oldest guys, every game, and hope for good results. And that we work hard enough during the week, and during camp, and that we'll be productive as a team during games."

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