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March 17, 2011During an all-state and honor-filled prep career, Mississippi State's Kaleb Eulls rarely came off the field if ever. He was Yazoo County's starting quarterback, starting defensive end and evne the team's starting punter.
Last year while redshirting at MSU, Eulls said just focusing on one position was actually a tough adjustment. But with time, it got better and naturally made his daily assignments easier.
"It was real tough at first," said Eulls. "That's because you are so used to playing so many spots and being on both sides of the ball. You grow accustomed to that and expect that. But then it got a lot better to just focus on one position, just focus on the D-line instead of moving all over the field."
While most true freshmen fear the term 'redshirt', Eulls said he was glad for his extra year and the experience to learn behind several veteran defensive linemen.
"To me it wasn't a bad thing and it was actually a good year in a great way," said Eulls. "I got to get in and get some reps and learn. I was able to watch and learn and I was able to understand it better."
This spring, Eulls is doing more learning and doing so at a different position. Last year on the scout team and also in bowl practice, Eulls spent his time on the edge at defensive end. But this spring, Eulls has actually take the majority of his reps at defensive tackle.
Although he is just a redshirt freshman, Eulls talks of the move as a veteran leader.
"I think I will end up at tackle," said the 6-foot-4 and 275-pound Eulls. "Last year I mainly got reps at end and it was about the same in bowl practice. The coaches think moving to tackle is best for the team and we all believe it is the best move. That is where I can help the team out the most and be the most productive. I think it allows us all to keep moving forward."
Of course, that doesn't mean Eulls won't face a daily challenge trying to get through 300-pound plus guys in front of him.
"Toughest thing for me is what all of us young guys are doing right now," said Eulls. "And that is just learning all the plays and getting used to the system. But with each day it gets easier as we all learn more."
With Pernell McPhee now focused on making it to the NFL and James Carmon on the offensive line, Eulls and his d-line mates are experiencing some change this spring. Yes, there are many familiar faces back with the likes of Fletcher Cox, Josh Boyd and Jeff Howie. But Eulls isn't the only lineman switching positions and Devin Jones is doing the same albeit going from tackle to defensive end.
Then there's defensive tackle and redshirt freshman Curtis Virges, who like Eulls is trying to find his role on the defensive line. Not only do some positions feature new faces but there is also a new chemistry that needs to be found.
"What I want to get done this spring is game development," said Eulls. "Not just development myself in game situations but as a team and as one unit up front. I think we can all feed off each other and the more we feed off each other, the better overall the defense will be."
What isn't lacking, said Eulls, is competition in practice. And it's not just the normal competition from all of the defensive tackle candidates, either, that is helping mold MSU's defensive front for 2011.
"To me, I can't say because they are all good," said Eulls of the MSU O-line. "Whether it's the younger guys or the older guys, they are all learning and give us a huge challenge. That matches up for a competitive practice and makes us better as a team."