Homecoming for Hicks at RB

PISCATAWAY, N.J. --- True freshman Josh Hicks is back at his natural running back position and in line for a role against Indiana when Rutgers returns to the field. Hicks enjoyed his first practice back at running back Tuesday, and broke down his thoughts on the change and hunger to contribute.

It is a feed me more mentality for Josh Hicks after his return Tuesday to running back. Back at his natural position, the true freshman plans to do everything he can to raise the production of the position group for a decisive final stretch.

“I'm starving to get that spot," Hicks said after his first practice back. "You're going to see a change."

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood moved Hicks to safety during the previous bye week based on injuries. Hicks stayed into the running back groove with multiple weeks on the scout team, however.

The return Tuesday felt like a natural one for the pride of Palmetto (Fla.).

“I missed it at times,” Hicks said. “When you don’t have the ball, it’s nerve-wracking when you don’t have the ball in your hands.”

Hicks took on the role of Ameer Abdullah and Melvin Gordon on the scout team in consecutive weeks.

“It’s like I didn’t miss a beat,” Hicks said. “ … Scout team running back, it doesn’t hurt. It can always help you get ready. When you’re in a game, it just comes naturally and you’re running with the No. 1 defense.”

Flood plans for Hicks to have “a role” against Indiana when Rutgers (5-4, 1-3) returns to the field for its final home game of 2014.

“We need production at that position and we need production in the running game," Flood said. "It's not just about the running backs, it's about the blocking, etc. You guys know how I feel about Josh as a running back. We moved him to the secondary at a time where we felt like he could add depth there. Now I think it's probably more important to be 1-0 in the next game (and) to have him back on offense."

Hicks sees the role as whatever he can do to help get first downs.

“Just being an all-around back – speed, power, ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and just run hard,” Hicks said.

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