This spring, Kyle Baublitz got a taste of what life was like on the inside of the Nittany Lions' defensive line. In a meeting with defensive line coach Larry Johnson following the annual spring game, he offered Johnson the chance to bolster the depth on his interior line as a defensive tackle.
Baublitz is now a full-time defensive tackle.
"At Blue-White I ended up playing a little three-technique," explained Baublitz. "I had fun with it. At the end of it, we had a meeting and I said, 'Coach J, I'm kind of thinking about defensive tackle.' He was like, 'OK, sure.' We just went with it from there."
Baublitz spent the summer adding weight - he's now listed at 287 pounds on a 6-foot-5 frame - and working on the skills he will have to master on the interior.
"It's been great. It's been a learning transition, but so far everything is going well," said Baublitz. "You're closer to the ball, you have to learn how to break up double teams. It's hard to explain how it's different, really."
The redshirt sophomore has found himself lining up behind senior Jordan Hill, and is hoping to push to get on the field for more than just special teams this fall.
"I want to really improve myself, I want to get out on the field a lot and have confidence going out onto the field," said Baublitz. "I kind of want to give Jordan Hill a run for his money. I want to try to catch up with him.
"He's awesome. He's a mentor to me, he tells me what I'm doing wrong and tells me ways to fix it. He just works hard. When we're watching film I just watch him, because he always does it right."
Baublitz played in all 13 games as a redshirt freshman last fall. He had two sacks in the Blue-White Game in April.