Spring practice is important for everybody, but some veterans do not require a full workload. At Rutgers, this is known as the “Brian Leonard treatment,” named after the star back returned for his senior year and saw key rest periods during spring practice.
When you know what a specific player brings, get a look at other guys and avoid injuries when possible.
Rutgers took it easy with key seniors on past teams, and we look now at five guys that fit the profile for 2015 spring camp.
5. OLB Quentin Gause -- Barring something crazy, you can lock Gause in for a second full season as the starting strongside linebacker for the Scarlet Knigths. Gause had back-to-back stellar spring camps for Rutgers, and the staff knows what he brings to the table. The smart play for Gause, keep him fresh and see what young linebackers offer as the staff builds toward the future.
Career Resume -- 39 games, 12 starts, 127 tackles, six sacks.
Best Game -- 2013 against Arkansas. Seven tackles and three TFLs in first career start. Rutgers wins 28-24.
4. LB Steve Longa -- Longa is another obvious starter for Rutgers, but his position remains unclear. For that reason, he needs reps at both middle and weakside linebacker in the spring. The staff should limit his activity to keep him healthy, but get him involved enough to find out where he best fits in training camp.
Career Resume -- 26 games, 26 starts, 225 tackles, 12 TFLs, 5 sacks
Best Game -- 2013 against Temple, 12 tackles, including fourth-down stop for game-winning drive. Rutgers wins 23-20.
3. LT Keith Lumpkin -- Everyone and their grandmother knows that left tackle is Lumpkin’s spot in 2015. Lumpkin stays for a fifth year instead of testing NFL waters, and he is the unquestioned anchor of the retooled 2015 line. As important as Lumpkin is to 2015, practice reps for Zack Heeman and Marcus Applefield are just as crucial.
Career Resume -- 29 games, 23 starts at left tackle.
Best Game -- Detroit Quick Lane Bowl, a mature Lumpkin led the Rutgers offensive line to a dominant showing through the air and on the ground. Gary Nova had all the time he needed, and coach Kyle Flood won his first bowl game.
2. DT Darius Hamilton -- A lock as two-time team captain, Hamilton is proven at defensive tackle. His most important role in spring is to make others better, not himself. What better way to find a new interior offensive line than sick Hamilton on them and see who is left standing?
Career Resume -- 38 games, 25 starts, 110 tackles, 24.5 TFLs, 10.5 sacks
Best Game -- 2014 against Penn State. The final score, and his individual statistics, may not show it, but Hamilton was extremely disruptive in what became an assault on Christian Hackenberg for three-and-a-half quarters.
1. WR Leonte Carroo -- An Oscar Bluth “no touching” policy is not the worst strategy for spring when it comes to Carroo. Carroo’s play-making ability is well known, as is his injury history. Chemistry is important with quarterbacks Chris Laviano and Hayden Rettig, but not as important as the health of Rutgers’ most dangerous weapon.
Career Resume -- 36 games, 16 starts, 1,564 yards, 19 touchdowns
Best Game -- 2014 against Tulane. Scored three touchdowns on 140 yards and seven receptions in a Rutgers 31-6 blowout.