Reiter, Reeves take on new roles

Here’s a well-reported piece by intern Jared Poertner that we couldn’t fit in the paper this week.

Also, it mentions Sylvester Stalone. Always a plus. Cheers to Jared.

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It’s not often a player is unable to respond to the first question of an interview. It’s even less frequent that the player grips onto your shoulder as if he were Sylvester Stalone in Cliffhanger holding onto the edge of a rocky mountain.

But that’s just what offensive guard Mike Reiter did on Tuesday following practice.

“I’m not going to lie, this is my first interview,” Reiter said. “And I’m at little nervous and stiff.”

There’s no reason to be antsy in an interview, but he had plenty of reason to be two weeks ago when he made his first appearance in the Iowa game. The redshirt junior – who had played on the scout team his whole career – was unexpectedly being rotated on and off the field against one of the strongest defensive lines in the Big Ten.

“Getting in the game finally after four years was good,” Reiter said.

Like freshman Justin Pagan, who has seen significant playing time the past two weeks at the left and right tackle positions, Reiter is following suit and playing at both left and right guard.

But unlike Pagan, Reiter has had to spend four years proving his worth and ability. According to him, though, it was well worth the wait.

“It’s worth it,” Reiter said. “(I’ve) worked really hard to get here, and it’s definitely paid off.”

Reiter wasn’t the only one feeling bittersweet Saturday night due to the blowout loss. Sophomore Ian Reeves made his first start at fullback in Champaign when the Hoosiers’ debuted their two-back shotgun formation.

Reeves, a converted scout-team linebacker, redshirted his first season in Bloomington, and didn’t appear to have a chance to play this year, either.

Then he started turning heads playing fullback for the scout team prior to the Michigan State game. The Spartans frequently employ the I-formation.

“They just needed a look for that week for a fullback,” Reeves said. “And all of sudden coach was like ‘Hey, we got a fullback here.’ ”

It should be no surprise Reeves can play the position — he was an all-state selection at the position in Michigan as a senior.

“He was a devastating lead blocker for us,” Ferndale High School coach Ryan Dunlap said in a telephone interview. “He just pummeled people.”

According to Dunlap, he received about a hundred text messages and calls Saturday night when friends, family and players saw that Reeves was on the field on offense.

“He’s a great kid, and a very hard worker,” Dunlap sad.

Physically stout yet vocally quiet, Reeves was humbled by his experience Saturday night.

“Being able to play Big Ten football, starting it off, I felt like that was a dream come true,” Reeves said.

During practice on Tuesday, Reeves was back on the defensive side of the ball at linebacker, but that doesn’t mean the fullback package is out for the Northwestern game.

“As we game plan and decide what we’re going to do run-game wise and on the offense, we’ll decide what we do with him from there,” running backs coach Dennis Springer said. “He’s a linebacker, (but) if we need to bring him on offense, we’ll bring him on offense.”

Reeves feels, or at least wants, otherwise.

“They move me around as they need me,” Reeves said. “But fullback is the spot.”

Springer said this week that the addition of a fullback helped  the running game in Champaign, so it would seems possible Reeves will be back at his “spot” again eventually.