FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — ScarletReport.com has the impact players, who has the most to prove, which players are in "building" mode and much more before kickoff against Arkansas.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — In another battle of first-year coaches, Rutgers
coach Kyle Flood challenges Arkansas
and head coach John L. Smith
. Smith, who took over after a controversial summer for Bobby Petrino, is off to a tough start with the Razorbacks (1-2, 0-1) and looking to rebound after a 52-0 loss to Alabama
. Rutgers (3-0, 1-0) is 10 days off of a 23-13 victory over South Florida
in the national spotlight.
Who will make the biggest impact, who has the most to prove and who is the player to watch? Well, we've done our best to identify those things, and offer a few other fun tidbits.
1. RB Jawan Jamison
— No one needs a bigger impact game for Rutgers than Jamison. After 41 carries, Jamison has the motto "feed me more." Savon Huggins
is out, which means Jamison is going to be needed for another big game. To control the clock and control the game, Jamison needs at least 35 carries.
2. CB Brandon Jones — With three big plays on defense and two touchdowns already, the fifth-year senior looks healthy and often in position to turn the tables on defense.
3. WR Brandon Coleman
— Coleman still struggles in the red zone, but his size and speed make him a tough contest for an inexperienced secondary. The Arkansas secondary is unsettled after giving up 86 points in the last two weeks and Coleman can go a long way in making big plays.
4. DE Ka'Lial Glaud — Glaud is the best speed rusher off the edge right now. Facing a bigger and stronger offensive line, Glaud needs to use his speed to keep putting pressure on the quarterback like he did last week.
5. RT R.J. Dill — Dill's block on the long Jamison touchdown last week went unnoticed. Take a deeper look at some of the big plays of the season and you will see one or two solid blocks out of the right tackle position.
Who has the most to prove?
1. LT Kaleb Johnson
— Johnson struggled with the speed of South Florida's pass rushers and will see nothing but tougher competition against Arkansas. The Arkansas defense has been weak to start the year, but Johnson will need to step up his game against a high level of athleticism.
2. TE D.C. Jefferson — Jefferson got involved over the middle, but his penalties were drive killers. Like Johnson, Jefferson needs to lock in and stop the sloppy play. The Scarlet Knights cannot survive another big-turnover game.
3. FB Michael Burton
— Burton barely saw the field against USF and may be asked to, not only step up his reps at fullback, but step in at tailback behind Jamison. It comes down to Burton to get Jamison in position to make plays and his pass blocked needs to improve as well.
4. DT Darius Hamilton — Hamilton has said himself that getting to the quarterback at the Division I level has been a wakeup call. Scott Vallone cannot do it all and other players at the 3-tech need to start making plays.
5. P Justin Doerner — There is not a nice way to say it. Doerner's punting against USF was just bad. The only time he got any leg behind his kicks, they sailed into the end zone.
Looking to build
1. OL Taj Alexander
— Alexander played well enough in start No. 1 to be considered for a second one with the return of Andre Civil
. Alexander did not have the yellow flag thrown on him last week, unlike the rest of his offensive line.
2. QB Gary Nova — Nova had no turnovers and threw the ball away efficiently. He managed the game and led Rutgers to a victory. He is nowhere near where he needs to be to lead Rutgers to a Big East title, but took a huge step forward with his performance.
3. C Betim Bujari — Bujari was a tough customer against South Florida, playing with a bad ankle. He still blocked well and had what was probably his best game at his new position.
4. WR Mark Harrison — Still inconsistent, Harrison gave himself and the receivers a confidence boost with his grab against South Florida.
5. WR Miles Shuler — Shuler continues to get open and his blocking is improving. Consistency is still a question, but it is about time to get him the ball and see if he can make a play with his feet.
Poised for a breakout
OLB Khaseem Greene — Greene continues to fly around the field and make plays defensively. Whether it is a beat up starting quarterback in Tyler Wilson
or one of two inexperienced backups, look for Greene to make his presence felt against the Razorbacks.
Freshman worth watching
PK Kyle Federico — Federico has a career-long 52-yarder under his belt, but also a series of botches with issues at holder. Federico has come a long way since missing his first attempt at the Superdome and Rutgers needs his leg to get a win.