10 Questions Entering Spring, Part I

Rutgers begins spring practice Tuesday morning, and as a primer ScarletReport.com is taking a two-part look at the major questions the Scarlet Knights will try to answer leading up to the April 30 spring game.

Rutgers begins spring practice Tuesday amid loads of questions after a 4-8 season and a plethora of position changes.

Keep in mind players like receiver Mohamed Sanu and fullback Joe Martinek will not be used much, if at all, because of offseason surgery, and the bulk of the 2011 class do not arrive until June.

So, in the first part of our "10 questions entering spring" package, we take a lot at Nos. 6 through 10.

10. Is Anthony DiPaula ready to punt?
Teddy Dellaganna graduated and walk-on Kyle Sullivan transferred, so the duty falls to freshman Anthony DiPaula. He enrolled in January and the lefty has a strong leg, but getting his steps down and his consistency up is a must.

He got a Rutgers offer despite a poor punting performance during its specialists camp, and now can make an immediate impact.

The good news is Rutgers is a punt-block team, so he will face plenty of pressure in spring practice.

9. Is WR Brandon Coleman ready to contribute?
At first, the 6-foot-6 Brandon Coleman was disappointed to red-shirt last season, but he quickly saw the benefits as he added 20 pounds, got used to the academic life and adjusted to the physical play of college.

Now, the question is whether Coleman can become that huge target for quarterback Chas Dodd in the passing game.

Rutgers lacks his size at the receiver position, which makes him a natural for fade patterns in the corner of the end zone, but he must show he can be trusted to come down with the "jump ball" passes in the red zone.

His size also can make for a nice target as a possession receiver over the middle.

8. What does DT Kenneth Kirksey look like?
Since Kenneth Kirksey's announcement on signing day 2010 he was heading to Rutgers, there has been excitement to see what he can do. After failing to qualify and heading to Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy in the fall, Kirksey got his academics in order and enrolled in January.

And, now he will be able to show his quick feet, strength and speed for the first time to the Rutgers staff.

Kirksey comes in with the ability to change games in the middle of the line of scrimmage, but the move to college often produces a bit of a culture shock, even to the best players. It will be interesting to see how quickly Kirksey can adjust, or if he needs to adjust.

7. Who will emerge at the safety spots?
Like cornerback, Rutgers usually has an experienced safety to keep things in order in the back. But with Khaseem Greene shifting from free safety to weakside linebacker and strong safety Joe Lefeged lost to graduation, there are two spots open.

Red-shirt freshman Lorenzo Waters had an impressive season on scout team defense, and is one of the early favorites to move into the free safety position. But Rashad Knight is moving from cornerback to safety and joins Darrell Givens, converted cornerback David Rowe, converted receiver Jawaun Wynn, Wayne Warren, experienced nickel back Duron Harmon and Patrick Kivlehan in a crowded and competitive safety grouping.

6. Who will step up at cornerback?
With two-year starter Rowe moving to safety and Jordan Thomas bringing his track speed from running back to cornerback, there are interesting story lines in the secondary.

However, Rutgers will have two new starting cornerbacks for the first time in years. Usually, there was at least one carryover starter from the previous season.

Marcus Cooper and Thomas, both converted receivers, bring size and speed to the position, and Cooper also has some experience having spent last season there. Gareef Glashen, Logan Ryan and Brandon Jones are also in the mix, and it will be a chance for freshman Jonathan Aiken, who enrolled in January, to showcase his skills. Mason Robinson moved from receiver to cornerback, and his experience could be a factor.

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