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  Greg Schiano challenged Mike Tverdov. Play hard, and to your maximum effort, on every snap. Simple as that. The defensive end from Union took it to heart. By the end of the fall, he was Rutgers' best defensive lineman. "You can't afford to take plays off in this league," Tverdov said recently. "Last year I was 6-foot-3, 250 pounds. I'm not a guy who can sit in the gap and take plays off. It doesn't work like that. "Swarm and finish every play, giving every single play your maximum effort is how things are going to turn out for you. I think that's the mindset I developed later in the season. Not only did I start playing harder, but I started believing in our system, believing in the coaching. It helped our defense and it helped me personally. I'm looking to go as hard as I can on every single play and see how far I can push myself."

Tverdov racked up 19 tackles (six for a loss) and four sacks in the Scarlet Knights' final three games of the season. It was a significant surge for a player who had just 17 tackles in the first six games, and it raised expectations for a breakout 2021, starting with spring practice - which is currently on hold due to a COVID-19 pause. "He loves to play the game of football. I think he prepares, and he's learning how to prepare within our system. And then when you have some positive actions go for you, things really start to be on the uptick," defensive coordinator Robb Smith said. "He's set the bar for himself now in terms of preparation and how he needs to respond. We're excited to see him this spring and that's got to carry on into the fall." - Star Ledger

(DS#68 DE) rJr/2022 DE Mike TverdovRutgers
News Source: Star Ledger



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