Anderson moves to D-line
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 23:04
The defensive end position was never something Tyler Anderson ever considered as a possible landing spot for his talent.
Anderson, a redshirt junior linebacker, recently found out that he would be making the switch from linebacker to defensive end.
Why did the Morgantown native never think about playing on the defensive line before now?
"I always thought I was too small," Anderson said. "When you see (defensive ends) on TV, they’re always really big guys."
After being listed at 221 pounds as a freshman, Anderson has used a strong work ethic to put on nearly 30 pounds of muscle and is now listed at 244 pounds.
The new and improved body helped motivate the Mountaineer coaching staff to make the switch.
Also, the switch from the 3-3-5 stack defensive alignment used under former defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel to the new 3-4 alignment has called for the services of more defensive linemen.
But Anderson is just looking forward to the opportunity.
"It’s great," he said. "Just whenever a coach tells you to go play one position, then he trusts you to go play another position and know the right responsibilities. I just go where they tell me to go."
Even though the switch happened very recently, there appears to be a lot of similarities between Anderson’s old position and his new one.
"Everything has been exactly the same. The run defense – I just don’t drop," he said. "It’s really just all the same, though."
Since he will be slightly undersized on the defensive line, a logical question to ask is if Anderson will be able to hold his ground against 300-plus-pound offensive linemen.
However, he may know the trick to using his smaller built to his advantage.
"Everything comes with speed. I have speed for everything," he said. "To move lineman, you have to use your speed. And with my weight and speed, I feel like I have a good chance."
But in reality, Anderson’s role is simple, and he knows it.
"Just make plays. That’s what everybody is out there to do," he said. "Just make plays and help out the defense. I just want to go out there and make plays."
It’s not just Anderson who is dealing with new defensive responsibilities this spring. The new defensive alignment has forced most players to deal with unfamiliar tasks. Despite the changes, progression is being made across the board.
"It’s think it’s going pretty good right now. Everybody is doing a lot," Anderson said. "But one thing we all need to get better at doing is tackling."