While Huggins rehabs from offseason shoulder and wrist surgery, he is tutoring the other running backs, and imparting three years of experience to anyone who will listen.
“I’m basically just helping out these younger guys,” Huggins said. “I know the playbook cold. I’m familiar with that, so I’m an asset to coach Wilson and the freshman like Josh (Hicks), Rob (Martin) and Jacob (Kraut), and even the older guys. Since I have a backseat to everything, I can watch it in a different light.”
Be it on the practice field, in the meeting rooms or just hanging out with teammates during down time, Huggins is trying to impress upon the running back corps the importance of remaining focused and making sure the playbook is second nature.
In meetings, Huggins said Hicks, the freshman from Palmetto (Fla.) High, sits next to him and they speak often about assignments. That Hicks ran in a pro-style type of offense in high school is aiding in the transition.
“I can definitely see he’s familiar with everything,” Huggins said. “He just has to get more confidence in everything, but in terms in knowing the stuff, he’s done a really good job of being willing to learn. He sits next to me in meetings. If he has any questions, I’m right there in meetings. He’s a great learner, and he wants to learn more and more and more.”
Meanwhile, Huggins continues his rehab even as his status for the 2014 remains, at best, cloudy.
He continues to rehab and said he will be “re-evaluated after the (Oct. 4) Michigan game again” by doctors.
Whether he plays this season remains in the air, although the specter of red-shirting has been a possibility since the winter.
“I honestly haven’t thought about it too much,” said Huggins, who ran for 842 yards and nine touchdowns on 261 carries in his career. “It’s an option, but I haven’t given it too much thought. There’s been so much going on, so all I’ve been doing is helping the freshman out. I’m in the trainer’s room every day getting my shoulder and my wrist back healthy.”
Huggins is set to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in economics in December, and could play next season at Rutgers as a fifth-year senior.
“If I do red-shirt, I could go to grad school,” Huggins said. “I always wanted to go to grad school. I want to take advantage of that. I definitely want to do that.”