Two-Deep Breakdown: FB Sam Bergen

Spring camp is over and the Rutgers football team has three weeks off before regrouping for summer classes. Coming out of the spring, ScarletReport.com is here to individually break down every expected member of the summer two-deep. Today, we break down backup fullback Sam Bergen.

Taking an in-depth, individual look at the key members of the roster, today ScarletReport.com looks at sophomore Sam Bergen, who is expected to begin training camp as a backup fullback.

Past Experience — Bergen came to Rutgers as a linebacker but never came close cracking the two-deep in his first two seasons in the program.

Bergen was a practice-squad linebacker and fullback last season before formally moving to solely offense this spring.

As a Recruit — Bergen committed to Rutgers as a two-star linebacker without any other offers. After a stellar sophomore season with East Stroudsburg (Pa.), Bergen suffered a pair of knee injuries that handicapped his final two years in high school.

His second knee injury came in November of his senior year, after committing to Rutgers.

Spring Performance — Bergen performed well enough as a backup this spring to make Kyle Flood and company comfortable enough to move Robert Joseph to the defensive side of the ball. As a converted linebacker, Bergen's role was primarily as a run blocker for the second- and third-team offenses in the spring and he did so relatively well for a player new to the position.

Does Well — Bergen's strength as a fullback comes in his physicality. He hits hard and plays low to the ground as a blocker. When he adds blocking technique to his pure power out of the backfield, Rutgers may have a legitimate run blocker in Bergen.

Needs to Improve — Bergen's two areas for improvement come based on injury and inexperience. He does not have the quickness or speed of other fullbacks on the team, partially because of two season-ending knee injuries in the last four years.

Bergen also lacks ball-handling skills as a fullback, not playing on the offensive side of the ball since high school. Fullback is supposed to be a dual-threat position in coordinator Dave Brock's offensive scheme and there just is not the concern with Bergen that he can make a play in the open field like there is with starter Michael Burton or even backup Paul Canevari.

Long-Term Outlook — It is clear that Burton is the starting fullback to stay, but there is always a need for greater depth. Bergen, right now, is one injury away from becoming the starting fullback at any point. Burton is the clear starter, but if he were to go down, Bergen instantly gets the nod based on experience within the program.

Rutgers successfully mixed in two fullbacks last year and can certainly do the same in the future if a player like Bergen shows improvement and trustworthiness as a backup.


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