Versatility is a huge asset in today’s NFL, especially for teams looking to add depth to their offensive line units. Virginia Tech's Luke Tenuta possesses it in bunches after playing both left and right tackle at the collegiate ranks. A player that can play multiple positions makes a team's life easier on game days. Tenuta recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his experiences and positive performance at this year's East-West Shrine Bowl, which defensive linemen he enjoyed practicing against, the differences between playing left and right tackle, growing up in a football family, why a team should use one of their draft picks on him, and so much more. JM: By all accounts, you had a solid showing at the East-West Shrine Bowl. What was that experience like? LT: I had a fun experience. It was my first time in Las Vegas. The game supported a great cause and the Shrine Bowl gave us another opportunity to showcase our talents in the middle of this pre-draft process. It was really cool. It gave me a chance to receive some hands-on coaching from NFL coaches. That was a valuable experience that will help me going forward. There’s nothing like it. I got to showcase my skills in front of NFL scouts. It was a fun experience. JM: Those practices can be pretty intense. Who were some of your favorite defensive linemen to practice and compete against? LT: I like competing against the biggest guys. I liked going up against Big Kat Bryant from Central Florida. He’s a good player. The guy from Western Michigan [Ali Fayad] also stood out to me. He was able to string together some reps as a pass rusher. He has good pass-rushing abilities. Those two guys were fun to block. They’re really good players. JM: You talked about enjoying the experience of meeting with scouts and coaches. Did you meet with many teams out there? LT: I had a lot of fun going through the interview process. I pretty much met with every single team. I thought it was really cool how it was set up and organized. It gave us a chance to begin building those meaningful connections. JM: You played both left and right tackle throughout your time at Virginia Tech. That versatility is extremely valuable at the next level. What are the main differences between playing left and right, and do you have a personal preference? LT: I started my career at right tackle and that’s where I played in 2019 and 2020. Christian Darrisaw moved onto the NFL and I kicked over to the left side for the 2021 season. I wanted to make that move because the left side is the blindside and I wanted to prove myself capable of handling that responsibility. To be honest with you, I don’t find it to be too much of a difference. Obviously, your feet are different and it takes some getting used to, especially for me because I had never played on the left side until 2021. I didn’t find it to be too hard. I had spring ball to adjust and I quickly acclimated. It was a good, smooth transition for me. At this point, they’re both similar to me and I don’t have a preference. JM: That makes you a valuable prospect. Your dad, Jon Tenuta, has 40-plus years of coaching experience and one of your brothers was the defensive coordinator at Norfolk State. What was it like growing up in a sports-friendly family? LT: It was a lot of fun. My oldest brother Zach was the defensive coordinator at Norfolk State and he recently accepted an offer to become the head coach of a high school in Raleigh, North Carolina. Growing up the son of a college coach was awesome. I spent a lot of time hanging out in facilities as a kid. We moved around a lot, which I honestly didn’t mind. I know a lot of people don’t prefer to move around too much but I embraced it. I enjoyed getting to become familiar with so many states. We lived in Georgia, Indiana, and several other spots. There’s nothing like the experiences I was able to have with my two older brothers. We’re a sports family through and through. My dad was always a college coach, my oldest brother Zach played college football and now coaches high school and college football, and my other brother Matt is a professional baseball player. We’re a pretty athletic family (laughs). JM: I’d say so (laughs). You’re a technician that highly understands offensive tackle play. Tell me a little about your different pass sets. LT: As for what we did at Virginia Tech, we did a lot of 45-degree pass sets. You don’t wanna get too much width but it depended on the protection. We did some straight-back sets depending on if it was a five or six-man protection. You can gain a little bit of width, especially when you’re on the slide side. We weren’t always in straight setback protection. We were allowed to get a 45-degree angle at times, and we also got to jump set depending on the play and protection. I appreciated how our coaching staff handled that part of the game. We did a lot more than just set straight back. It was valuable for our development. JM: I want to expand on that a bit. How did playing in Virginia Tech’s scheme help get you ready for the next level? LT: They prepared me very well. We did a lot of different stuff throughout my time there. We ran a lot of outside zone when we had Khalil Herbert at running back. His vision was so good, especially in outside zone with the cut-back opportunities that scheme allows for. I loved running that outside zone system. We ran a lot of power and counter in 2021. We ran so many different systems throughout my career. Those experiences have prepared me very well for the next level. JM: We love that. I’ve really appreciated your time today. Why should a team use one of their draft picks on Luke Tenuta? LT: They’re going to get a guy who’s going to come in and work his butt off. I love the game of football. I’ve been around it my entire life and it’s my passion. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. Once I’m done playing, I’ll immediately go into coaching like my father and older brother did. You’re going to draft a guy that’s going to come in and work his tail off. I’m going to do whatever it takes to help the team.
- Sep 24, 2023
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