PISCATAWAY – Ka’Lial Glaud is used to changing positions. As a high school quarterback that seldom played defense, Glaud was moved to linebacker when he arrived at Rutgers. Even at linebacker he was moved around. Last spring he was moved from strongside to middle linebacker.
Then in the summer camp, the tinkering continued. First he was the middle linebacker. Then it was back to strongside.
Finally, the biggest move of his Rutgers career was made two weeks before the first game when Glaud was moved to defensive end.
It wasn’t an easy transition. Glaud will be the first to admit that it was a blow to his psyche.
“At first it hurt me a little bit,” Glaud said of the position change following Rutgers fifth spring practice today. “I never thought this is where I would be in my career — on the defensive line and playing defensive end.”
It was a place on the field he was unaccustomed to. A position he had no previous experience in.
“I feel like during the season when I got thrown at defensive end I never really had a chance to get my feet under me and learn the technique so mostly I was just out there just playing football,” Glaud said. “Playing off instincts.”
Which is exactly why this spring is so important for the 6-foot-2, 230-pounder. It’s a time for him to work on technique. Things like hand placement and leverage.
“For somebody who was not a defensive lineman in high school and did not start here as a defensive lineman, I do think it’s an opportunity for him to really increase his proficiency at the position,” head coach Kyle Flood said.
To Glaud’s benefit, he’s not playing the role of a typical defensive end. He’s in what Rutgers calls the “R position” which is a rush end.
As a hybrid position, Glaud is able to still rely on at least some of the things he learned in his linebacker days.
“It would be different if I was playing inside and I was a true defensive lineman,” Glaud said. “But being out there on the perimeter I get a chance to still be an athlete and still run around and kind of play free and make plays.”
Those plays should come more often from Glaud this season. He now has sufficient time to learn his position and the intricacies and nuances that come with it.
The Sicklerville, N.J. native is at peace with his position and now has the self-assurance that he can excel at it.
“As I get adjusted to it and as I get more comfortable, the stronger my confidence gets,” Glaud said. “I feel like I’m adapting to it and this is where I belong right now.”