Rutgers Sees Better Practice to Fix Execution

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers did not play with enough physicality offensively or execute defensively in the loss to Connecticut, and has six days to fix it before South Florida. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood and players discussed the difference in the practice schedule, and what needs to happen to get things fixed on time for Senior Night.

In the eyes of the players and coach Kyle Flood, practice is the best remedy for execution issues on both sides of the ball.

Rutgers continues to have no answer in defending the pass, but will approach the season finale with the same game plan. According to senior safety Jeremy Deering, the best way for the current scheme to work is for players to prepare better during the week.

"Sometimes we're there and we're not making a play on the ball when we need to," Deering said. "If we fix that, it fixes some of the problems."

As an offense, the biggest concern for Flood is a lack of physical play in the run game. After starting the season with four straight explosive ground games, Rutgers averaged four yards per carry just once in November.

"I think we've got to be more physical up front; lineman, full backs, tight ends, receivers," Flood said. "Everybody in the blocking unit needs to be more physical."

The only way to make a fix like this after 11 games, is on the practice field.

"Physically and mentally I've gotten a little better every game, but it's more from practicing hard," said center Dallas Hendrikson "That's all I can do. We just have to do our job as individuals. I can only speak for myself, and I have to do my job better. … I just need to do it more in practice, and that will transfer over to games."

Flood gave Rutgers a Sunday off from practice after the loss to Connecticut, which makes the final three practices even more important.

"We have to have a want-to to finish," said junior fullback Michael Burton. "I think we can go the extra mile to get even more physical and finish better than we already have. We had extra time to heal, and that's good. I have all of the trust in the world in our coaches, and the decisions they make are great. We'll start practicing tomorrow with our bodies feeling better."

Playing more physical also comes with playing harder, and Burton said he still sees the will to win in the eyes of his teammates.

"We have a ton of reason to want to go out and win this game," he said. "As a younger guy, I want to win this one for our seniors. They deserve to have this win, and have a bowl game. … I think a win would absolutely fix it all. There have been things going on, but ultimately we need to go out and win in front of our home crowd and become bowl eligible."

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