April 15, 2008

Roder adjusts to new setting

When Mike Roder transferred from Scottsdale Community College to Kent State over the winter, the 6-foot-4, 295-pound guard knew he'd have to adjust to his new setting. So far the biggest challenge for him might have been the weather.

"The snow was a big change but it's goes away soon," Roder said at the start of spring practice. "I'm excited for a little heat."

If it's heat he's looking for, he found it when he was penciled in as the starter at left guard. That meant there was no time for Roder to slowly learn the Golden Flashes offensive packages. That's why he has spent extra time in offensive line coach Terry Tilghman's offense learning as much as he can in a short period of time.

"I hit coach Tilghman's office as much as I can, three times a week if I can," Roder said. "He's got the projector up on the wall every day and we just watch film; (I) learn two new plays a day and just keep chucking away."

After spending most of his first semester on campus in the weight room, Roder was excited to finally get his chance to get on the field this spring.

"It was fun getting to hit and getting all with (my teammates) and jelling with them," he said. "I've been here for a few months and we've gone through some lifting and all that stuff so I kind of was bonding with them. I feel like I fit in here and that's the reason I came here. I was just excited to get out there and start playing."

Roder played tackle at Scottsdale and immediately he was thrown into the fire at guard, where he's done a lot more pulling than he ever has.

"Last year I played tackle so it's a little bit different but I've been in the film room with coach a lot and he's taught me a whole lot as far as like new position, different offensive changes," he said. "(The) terminology has been a little difficult to transfer over but I'm getting it and I'm excited to start getting out there."

His job is twice as difficult considering speedy running back Eugene Jarvis leaves little room for offensive linemen to make mistakes.

"It's crazy to see him makes the cuts that he makes but it's exciting at the same time to block for somebody that was that productive last year and is going to be that productive this year," Roder said. "It's exciting to watch him make his shifty cuts because we didn't have a guy like that at Scottsdale who was that explosive off his cut.

"It gets you excited; it gets the adrenaline pumping for you to do your job. You know if you make your block correctly it's going to be very productive because he knows how to read right off your ass or cut back lane."

When Roder isn't on the field or in the classroom, he spends his time developing new products for his clothing line, True Story Clothing.

"I got a small business clothing line that I'm trying to blow up here, "he said. "We just make shirts right now. I like doing that in the free time; which I don't have a lot right now but I have a buddy back home. Me and him are pretty tight and I call him all the time and we talk about designs and this and that and put logos on shirts and stuff."

Roder said they started the business last year after spring ball.

"Right after spring ball we got kind of bored and we had been talking about putting anything on a shirt or making our own shirts because he worked at a clothing press and that was what he did for the summer," he said. "He was like, 'man we should start doing our own thing.' So, we just kind of threw some ideas around and finally put some stuff on some shirts and everybody started liking them so we started selling them. A lot of people liked them and we're just starting to expand on that and see what comes of it."

Already, Roder and his business partner have turned some heads.

"We're starting to get some recognition from a couple people," he said. "(I) know a couple people in higher places and I know a couple people that I've worked out (with) that are in the NFL. We started talking to them about it and they said they would help us out. It's exciting."

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