BOWLING GREEN - It could be interpreted as a demotion. But Sean O'Drobinak switching from tight end to defensive tackle with just one year of eligibility remaining is anything but.
The beefed-up O'Drobinak has secured a starting spot for Saturday's game at Minnesota and the move to defense should allow him to have a greater impact than at tight end, a position nearly obsolete in Bowling Green State University's multiple receiver offense.
"We needed to get him on the field, and with the D-line always being a depth issue it made sense to move him there in the spring," BGSU coach Gregg Brandon said. "He was a little hesitant, but I said if it doesn't work out you can always come back and play tight end. But it worked out."
First O'Drobinak had to eat. A lot.
The coaching staff put O'Drobinak on a diet after last season, believing he would return at tight end. He dropped down to 258 pounds only to learn in the spring he would be moved to defensive tackle. It became time for O'Drobinak to frequent the local buffets.
"I took it off to put it back on," O'Drobinak said. "I put on about 25 pounds. It was a lot easier putting it on than taking it off."
The position switch has also been easier than expected, as he began and finished fall camp as a starter.
O'Drobinak has been in this situation before. During his junior season at Crown Point in Indiana, he switched from quarterback to tight end - and ultimately defensive tackle. Versatility makes O'Drobinak, who has five career touchdown catches, attractive to both offensive and defensive coaches.
O'Drobinak admits he's
uneasy heading toward his first day on the job.
"I'm actually kind of nervous for the first game," he said. "Before I wouldn't be nervous because I have a lot of confidence and I know what to expect.
"I know how a defensive end is going to move."
O'Drobinak will try to strengthen the Falcons' rush defense, which ranked eighth in the Mid-American Conference in 2006. He faces a strong challenge right away in Minnesota's Amir Pinnix, who rushed for 1,272 yards and 10 touchdowns a year ago.
"I'm pretty sure after the first play or first couple of series I'll be all right," he said.
A vocal guy, O'Drobinak's name was submitted several times when the Falcons voted for team captains. He will now attempt to earn respect with his play despite not being afforded much of a trial period.
"I can't use the excuse that there's always next year because, finally, there's not," O'Drobinak said. "I don't have that next year. I've been using that since high school. It's my last shot, I'm going to go out and do all I can."
Contact Ryan Autullo at: firstname.lastname@example.org.