PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Nyeem Wartman Adjusting To His Role As Defensive Anchor

The absence of Mike Hull will be the most glaring difference between last year’s defensive unit and the current squad. 140 tackles and veteran leadership — through words and actions — is not easily replaced; these are special traits that aren’t found in every football player. Redshirt junior linebacker Nyeem Wartman knows this, which is why he wants to take what he’s learned from Hull over the years, and make the middle linebacker position his own this coming season.

Wartman has been a steady playmaker for the Nittany Lions ever since he took the field as a redshirt freshman back in 2013. He flashed a knack for stopping the run, while demonstrating a ferocious nose for the ball. He’s aggressive, and emanates those same characteristics that made Hull the special player he is. This season, however, Wartman won’t be playing second fiddle to Hull; he’ll be the man to anchor the ship.

“Mike Hull wasn’t much of a talker during games, he led by example,” Wartman said Tuesday. “I owe so much to him.”

Wartman learned that he’d make the transition from outside linebacker — a position he’s played the four years he’s been in Happy Valley — and bump down inside at the middle linebacker spot in February prior to the commencement of spring practice.

“I learned about a month before spring ball,” Wartman said. “Right now we’re just trying to see who fits where in practice, trying to find the best fit for everybody.”

Wartman has come a long way since 2013, and his attitude reflects that.

“I gained a lot of confidence last year,” Wartman said. “I can be the person I think I can be, and I want to be a leader for this team. I’m not trying to force it, I’m just trying to show the guys that I care about this team and this game by playing with that confidence and set an example for the guys out there.”

Playing in the middle, Wartman will have a greater sense of control given that he’ll be the pseudo quarterback of the defense. He’ll take over the defensive play-calling duties, meaning he’s responsible for ensuring players are lined up correctly, conveying the play-call throughout the defense while avoiding confusion, and so on. In other words, it’s a major responsibility. But Wartman is not phased; he’s ready for the challenge.

“You can just control the defense [playing MLB] knowing you’re the guy setting everybody up,” Wartman said. “I just like the liberty of that.”

Wartman’s style of barking orders differs from Hull’s style of play-calling, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by members of the defense.

“There’s a certain way I call the defense,” Wartman said. “Some of the defensive linemen like me calling it a certain way, the way Mike Hull called it. When I was calling it, they understood me, but they didn’t really like it. The biggest adjustment is my wording when I’m calling the plays, and making sure the guys are lined up and don’t have to think about it.”

Wartman brings desirable traits to the table, and at 6-foot-1 and 243 pounds, he could be in line for a stellar season. Wartman has been limited in practice, and could be unavailable for Saturday’s Blue-White scrimmage, but that shouldn’t draw concern. Wartman will continue to grow into his new role as spring rolls along.

Wartman might not be Mike Hull, but he’s ready to turn some heads in 2015 by forging his own path. From mentee to authoritative leader, Nyeem Wartman is set to grab hold of the reigns and elevate Penn State’s defensive unit to new heights.

About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

Comments

More by David

So Long, And Goodnight: David Abruzzese’s Senior Column

It’s been a hell of a ride, folks. Senior staffer David Abruzzese rides off into the sunset with his senior column.

Saquon Barkley Mum On NFL Future; Relishes Fiesta Bowl Opportunity

DOTD: Nittany Lion Catches Pass At Fiesta Bowl

Athletics

North Dakota Interested In Playing Against Penn State Hockey In Nashville

North Dakota is working towards an agreement that will see its hockey team play against Penn State in Nashville during the 2020-21 season.

Former Cal Swimmer Says She Emailed Sandy Barbour About Sexual Harassment Claims

Max Sauve Commits To Penn State Hockey

Penn State Women’s Volleyball Releases 2018 Schedule

Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

Student Life

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Career Services To Launch Integrated Career Management & Recruiting Platform

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

State Theatre Recognized As A State College Historic Site

As it approaches the 80th anniversary of its opening, the State Theatre has been recognized as a State College historic site.

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Send this to a friend