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April 4, 2005Note: This is just an example of the type of in-depth Purdue football coverage you can get with an Ultimate Ticket subscription to GoldandBlack.com. To subscribe or sign up for a seven-day free trial, click here.
Mike Otto's advice to Sean Sester would be pretty simple.
Otto, a junior, has started every game at left offensive tackle for Purdue the past two seasons, getting thrown to the wolves as a redshirt freshman in 2003. That's the exact scenario youngster Sean Sester is facing this spring, as he's getting the first opportunity to start on the right side.
"It's going to be very intimidating," Otto said. "He's going to have his bad plays. But he's going to have to take those plays and put them behind him. It'll make him better.
"The only way he's going to get to where he needs to be is go against guys like Ray (Edwards) and (Anthony) Spencer in practice because they're great players, two of the best in the Big Ten."
Coach Joe Tiller and Co. were thoroughly impressed with the 6-foot-8 Sester during his redshirt season a year ago, lauding his size, intelligence and reach, along with athleticism that belied his size. And the staff was pleased to see Sester build his body up into that of a 282-pounder.
Then, in the winter, Sester made his move, according to Tiller.
"I think Sean took huge strides during the winter. He was a 250-some-pound guy and now he's a 280-some-pound guy," Tiller said. "And it's all been muscle. I think what's especially encouraging about him is that he's running extremely well, so he's handling his weight. Some guys put on weight and don't handle it well; it comes on too fast."
In part because of his winter showing and in part because of injuries to some other tackle hopefuls, Sester is getting first crack at the opening this spring.
"It's a great opportunity to come into the Big Ten and play right away," Sester said. "It's a big responsibility, a lot to have to live up to. I just have to do my best to learn the system and keep getting stronger; those are my big things right now."
The soft-spoken, cerebral lineman spent his entire freshman year on the scout team, as is the norm for those rookies who are sitting out as redshirts.
"I learned a lot of the general stuff, but I still have a lot I have to get down," Sester said. "It's a huge jump from high school to college; everyone's so much bigger, stronger and faster here. The biggest (change) is just getting used to the quality of the competition."
Otto knows exactly what Sester's going through.
"It is going to be a little tough for him right now, just getting thrown in the mix. It's so much of a step-up from everything you're used to, practicing with the scout team and stuff," Otto said. "But all he has to do is work hard and keep doing what he's doing. He's a good kid, he works hard and he's going to be a really good player. It'll all come into place for him. We just have to help him."
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