Matt Rhule’s philosophy has been to let a player determine where he wants to play.
The coach can recommend where he thinks he fits best or where he might receive the most playing time, but he isn’t going to force a player into a position he doesn’t want to play.
So when Jihaad Pretlow opted for a switch to wide receiver after the spring – despite being a contributer at safety his freshman year – Rhule obliged.
The switch didn’t last long as Pretlow returned to the defensive backfield in the second week of camp and with injuries in the secondary his presence is needed.
Pretlow, who was one of three freshmen to play every game last year, has five tackles and forced a fumble this season. He said the move to offense was more of a comfort factor for him.
“That was my decision, the coaches are open to guys finding roles for themselves and they were fine with it,” said Pretlow. “Coming out of high school I was an offensive player. I’ve always had that offensive mindset, I was taught offense as a young kid and I thought I could help the team better there.
“But talking to the coaches and some of my teammates, they thought defense was a better fit for me, so I went on the defensive side and hopefully it works out. You want to do for the team, so any way they can put me on the field I’m OK with it.”
Now that he’s back on defense, Pretlow has found the comfort level he was seeking and is content if his future is on the side of the ball. The Owls are young in the secondary, playing freshmen like Sean Chandler and Anthony Davis, and even though he is just a sophomore Pretlow feels like a veteran.
“I feel good,” said Pretlow. “I’m feeling right at home back with the DBs. Fortuantely they accepted me back, and I’ve had to take on a little bit of a leadership role so that has helped me through the whole process.
“Losing key guys like Alex (Wells) …. The guys that came behind him stepped up and played pretty well. They didn’t back down from a challenge.”
Jihaad Pretlow's offensive journey was brief
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