Practice sessions were reduced to one today as the Scarlet Knights were sandwiched between a pair of two-a-days on Monday and Wednesday. Here's a look at the latest from the practice field in Piscataway.
Johnathan Aiken moved over to safety at the start of spring practice and now Jeremy Deering and Marcus Cooper are taking reps at the position as well. The transfer of Rashad Knight left the secondary with one less safety but head coach Kyle Flood insists that depth is not a concern at the position.
"I don't know that we're getting light at safety. I think we've got some sub packages in," Flood said. "We've got more defensive backs on the field so we've got some guys moving back there. Like Marcus is playing corner and in the sub packages he moves back to safety."
Flood also said the Deering move was not made because of a depth issue.
"Jeremy Deering is there because of what we think he can do, not because of being thin back there. We think he can perform for us and we need to get him on the field."
Injury has limited Lorenzo Waters to day-to-day status, but he is expected back soon.
Meanwhile, Deering is just getting his feet wet at the position while also playing wide receiver and kick returner.
"This is what they want me to do so I'll just take it and go with it," Deering said.
Deering was classified as a safety recruit coming out of Leto High School in Tampa, Fla. However, there will be a bit of an adjustment at the college level.
"It is [an adjustment] because you don't do it every day," Deering said. "You just have to practice it and rep it and do the best you can every day and get the technique down."
Some of the burden regarding Deering's playing time will fall on the shoulders of the coaching staff.
"I think there is a time management challenge and that's on us as much as it's on him," Flood said. "I think we have to give him the opportunity to be in offensive meetings when it's appropriate and be in the defensive meetings when it's appropriate and make sure he has time throughout the week to watch tape with the coaches so he's ready to go. I think some of the burden is on him but most of the burden is on us as the coaches to coordinate that."
Backup Center spot
Redshirt junior Matt McBride has moved into the backup center position behind starter Betim Bujari. McBride started working in at center last December and has overtaken Dallas Hendrikson as the team's No.2 snapper.
"McBride is the second center right now," Flood confirmed. "I don't know that that compeition is over yet. But as we evaluate some of these positions and try and build depth, the most recent performances are the ones that are going to count the most."
McBride started out at the guard position and has added quite a bit of size since transferring in from Hofstra after its football program disbanded. He first came to Rutgers in the January semester of 2010.
"He's played mostly guard, in the spring he played some center," Flood said of McBride. "I think at that position you always have to build depth. …We just felt like after Betim, he's the best option right now. Again, that competition is not closed but I think he's done the best job of anchoring, he's done the best job of pass protection. We feel like he'd be the best option right now."
Last second field goal
Toward the end of today's practice, the Rutgers offense ran the two-minute drill and set up freshman kicker Kyle Federico for a last second 41-yard field goal. Holder J.T. Tartacoff rushed the snap and Federico was hurried, sending the kick wide left. Flood made the team run the same play again and when Tartacoff enabled the field goal unit to get set for a few more seconds, Federico split the uprights.
"He was good today. I was glad he made that last kick in the two-minute drill," Flood said of Federico. "I thought the first time we did it, we rushed him for no need. Again, you could certainly end up in a situation where you do get rushed as the clock is winding down but that was one where he did not have to be. It was nice to see him come back on the field and make that second kick."
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