Finnish DL Edward Vesterinen prioritizing unique football skills in new home at West Virginia

When coming over from Finland, defensive lineman Edward Vesterinen noticed the clear differences in American culture. But he has now also taken a huge leap in an underdeveloped area of his football skills this season.

Playing football back home was different for Vesterinen, because the opposition on the offensive line were both slower and had less refined in the technique department.

He’s recognized the monumental changes here in the United States, playing college football against lineman that are quicker and are better blockers, but you can’t say it’s held him back.

Last season, Versterinen’s stat line was modest at best, but his time on the field was extremely limited all season, in his defense. He accumulated 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 2.5 tackles for loss in 242 defensive plays.

But in this season’s fall camp, he has honed in on something cerebral and has gained knowledge and skills that are outside of one’s physical ability and speed. Now Vesterinen, nicknamed Eddie, can analyze the alignments and stance of each offensive lineman he faces.

“How wide are the splits, how far is he from the center, how much weight does he put on his hands, where are his eyes and where does he look. Trying to find the different keys to tell me this might be a pass key if I see him do this or this might be heavy run if I see him do this,” Vesterinen said.

And even though playing American football at the highest level in Big 12 Conference level is a big contrast from what Vesterinen competed against in Finland, it’s helped him further cultivate his skill set.

“This is what I’ve been waiting for, this is a big year for me. I’ve been trying to be consistent and be more of a leader for the defensive line unit. I put everything into it,” Vesterinen said.

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