Myles Nash proves versatile option on both sides of ball
Myles Nash seems to be doing it all.
The fifth-year senior has slotted in both at tight end and on the defensive line through the first two games of the season, doing both in the same game against Eastern Michigan, the first time a Rutgers player has done that since 2013.
"Obviously just happy about the opportunity to play defense," Nash said. "I thought I’d be poised to have a big year there after game experience and playing there last year. It’s exciting and I'm happy about it."
Primarily a defensive player, Nash's move to tight end shocked many when it was announced in the spring, but due to a drastic shortage in that unit, players like Nash and junior transfer Jerome Washington needed to step up. While Washington has seen the majority of the snaps at tight end, Nash has had to figure in the fact that he is balancing both the offensive and defensive schemes, in some games — like the Eastern Michigan one — both protecting the backfield and charging it.
Though Nash has experience on the defensive line, it was never the coaching staff's primary intention to stick him there, considering he is still learning how to be a tight end.
But when depth issues came about due to injury, Nash stepped up against Eastern Michigan on Saturday, even collecting a tackle late in the third quarter.
Amid a press conference addressing the struggles of the affair Saturday, head coach Chris Ash lauded Nash's efforts on both ends, citing both his physical and mental strength as reasons for his versatility.
"He's stayed in tune to what we are doing defensively. He's gotten some reps and actually went out there ... did a really good job," Ash said. "Really proud of him, his growth and maturity as an individual and as a player and his willingness to do whatever he needs to do help his football team play. It's a great credit to that kid."
Much of that growth and maturity has developed in practice throughout the spring and summer, where Nash has mostly devoted his time to tight end.
In the fall and with the issues of depth springing about for the defensive line, Nash has split time in practice — much like in game — on both sides of the ball, which certainly has its mental demands.
"(I’m) definitely sweating a lot more in practice," Nash said. "The mental aspect is definitely a bit more difficult, but nothing I can't do. It’s just more studying involved and things like that. I think I did well last week with that transition on short notice."
Whether Nash will need to carry both his tight end and defensive line skills into this weekend's matchup against Morgan State is anyone's guess, though he is leaving room for both options.
Studying films on both ends, working in reps with both squads at practice. In particularly challenging times for the Rutgers football team, Nash is stepping up where his coaches need him.
And through all this, he remains optimistic about the Knights' future just days removed from the Eastern Michigan loss. It is not stuck in the back of their minds, he adds. Everything, and everyone, is looking forward.
"I think the sky's still the limit for us," he said. "None of us are discouraged about (the loss to Eastern Michigan). I'm excited to go out this weekend and try to get a W."