Coach's Perspective on NT Lamar Divens

SDBoltReport.com's Scott Domitrowits goes one-on-one with Tennessee State D-line coach Justin Roberts to talk about rookie NT Lamar Divens. Roberts offers first-hand testimony to Divens' ability to overcome adversity and make a positive impact in the locker room. Find out why Roberts says there is no question Divens will make an NFL team.

Scott Domitrowits: What preparations did Lamar Divens make in college in order to prepare himself for the NFL?

Justin Roberts: Lamar really worked hard in the off-season. He had some issues with minor sprains and injuries, but we have worked with him in the weight room and did some extra conditioning to prepare him for that next level.

SD: Divens battled through injuries and a tricky transfer situation coming from Vanderbilt to play for Tennessee State. Has that made him a better, tougher football player?

JR: He certainly is a better football player for it and he is a better person for it. The situation with the transfer from Vandy is that they said he was eligible to play for them, therefore he should have been eligible to play for us. It ends up a week before we played them they said they made a mistake and said he wasn't eligible. Both schools and the NCAA did an investigation and found out that Vandy was wrong and that Lamar could have played. Through all of this he became stronger because of that and he forewent that year to prepare for this past year and it really inspired him to work hard.


Lamar Divens will battle NT Brandon McKinney (above) for a roster spot.
Otto Gruele Jr./Getty

SD: What kind of character will he bring to the locker room?

JR: Lamar brings a tremendous amount of character. It is one of the things that really draws us to him. He is an outstanding individual. He is not a kid, but likes to have fun. He was a very strong leader in the locker room for us. I think it all goes back to his parents; they are such tremendous people and it shows in Lamar.

SD: What is the best part of Divens' game?

JR: He is a great run-stopper and an absolute force up the middle. He is so strong and imposing and his physical attributes definitely make him great at stopping the run and pursuing backside plays.

SD: What is the part of his game that needs improvement?

JR: He is going to have to work on making better directional changes. He needs to be able to make that cut. Right now, he rounds corners instead of making strong, sharp cuts. I think that those things can be easily corrected. He is so talented and athletic that he can certainly make those cuts, it's just that the injuries he has had haven't allowed him to address that until recently.

SD: Is there a particular play that stands out in your mind that shows you how great a player Divens truly is?

JR: There was a play versus Jackson State his first year here. Their quarterback was a really a great athlete and was scrambling out of the pocket. Lamar broke through the line on the backside and chased down their quarterback. During the play, he showed a great burst, change of direction, power and speed. At 335 pounds, a guy like that running down a very athletic quarterback was really great; it was the flash of greatness a whole lot of guys do not see.

SD: You speak to Divens regularly. How is he adjusting to his situation in San Diego?

JR: Right now he absolutely loves it. He is just going through the same problems everyone is going through with the heavy workload, both physically and mentally. The thing about Lamar is he gets football, he gets the schemes and you don't have to keep telling him the same thing over and over again. The camaraderie of the guys in the locker room and the coaching staff is really making him enjoy the whole experience.

SD: Do you think he is going to make an NFL roster?

JR: I don't think there is any question he is going to make an NFL roster. His size and work ethic will get him on a team. I really believe he has the tools to make it. I hope it is the Chargers because he seems very happy there.


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