'I'm torn up, man': Arizona o-lineman Gerhard de Beer remains positive despite struggles – Arizona Daily Star

The stories of Gerhard de Beer’s first days playing football are legendary at this point, and the UA’s senior offensive lineman laughs about them because, well, they really are funny.

Coach Rich Rodriguez likes to tell the one about de Beer pulling thigh pads out of his locker for the first time, turning to his teammate and asking what they were.

De Beer, from Pretoria, South Africa, had never played football in his life. He was at Arizona on a track and field scholarship when he decided to give football a try. 

De Beer started out as a defensive lineman and moved to tight end before settling in on the offensive line. His size —  6 feet 7 inches and 320 pounds — is prototypical for offensive tackle, arguably the line’s most important position. He started at right tackle a year ago, but has taken a step backwards since. A knee injury continues to restrict — and frustrate — him. As a result, de Beer has fallen behind sophomore Cody Creason on the depth chart. 

Even so, de Beer happily talks about the player he used to be. The one that didn’t really know anything.

During de Beer’s first year, offensive line coach Jim Michalczik instructed de Beer to ‘go block the corner,’ meaning the cornerback. De Beer ran to the corner of the end zone.

“He stood over there and didn’t know what was going on,” Michalczik said, laughing. “He didn’t know a (defensive back) was a corner. He’s come a long way.”

Added Rodriguez: “He didn’t know what a thigh pad was or where to put it. Now he’s reading multiple defenses and maybe even a little coverage.”

De Beer has

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