Notebook: Rutgers Continues Prep for EMU

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers football took part in its hottest practice since Fresno State Wednesday morning in preparation for Eastern Michigan. After practice, coach Kyle Flood discussed the latest depth chart thoughts at multiple positions and more on Eric LeGrand's Saturday ceremony.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – A brutal mid-September day of heat was a welcome site for Rutgers coach Kyle Flood on the practice field. In the final full practice before Eastern Michigan on Saturday, Rutgers spent more than two hours on the practice turf in a heat that exceeded 100 degrees.

Flood embraced the adversity and said his team would be prepared for the same conditions if it came on Saturday.

"Certainly they were challenged by the elements," Flood said. "I think it got to about 107 on the turf today, which I think is always good for your team, and it certainly tests your younger players to makes sure they can focus for the duration of the plays during the course of a two-hour practice."

Rutgers responded well to the heat, but has a lot of housekeeping to do before it is ready for an in-game situation in Flood's eyes.

"I hope we can become more and more consistent," Flood said. "Last week we took advantage of some short fields and until the second half we didn't drive the ball the way I wanted us to drive the ball.

"When you play college football not every drive is going to drive the field, but you need more consistency on drives. I think we need to be able to do that. We're not always going to have the great fortune of the short fields that we had last week."

Focus on Eastern Michigan

Flood compared Eric LeGrand's halftime ceremony to a senior day environment. Emotions will be high for the coaching staff and players, but execution on the field comes first.

"It's a little bit like senior day," Flood said. "The team needs to be focused on the game."

Mera Earns Starting Role

In Flood's words, defensive end Djwany Mera has earned a starting role on the defense by seizing an opportunity presented to him.

"I think Djwany right now deserves to start," Flood said. "We'll make the final decision later in the week, but I'm very proud of Djwany. I think he has done a great job of seizing an opportunity. So often we preach to the younger players, you don't know when you're going to get your chance. … He has probably done the best job of anybody on his team of taking advantage."

Fifth-year senior Jamil Merrell continues to get more involved while rehabbing a foot injury and remains a gametime decision at defensive end against Eastern Michigan.


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