Rutgers RB Robert Martin Makes Practice Debut

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The running back competition picked up this week when sophomore Robert Martin debuted at practice. Martin was ready to work and the pride of Harrisburg thirsts to build upon his seven-touchdown freshman season.

Rutgers sophomore Robert Martin worked as hard as any other player in the 2015 offseason. But while others shined in practice, Martin sat out for injury reasons for the first eight days.

Martin got his opportunity Tuesday, however, and is back in his playmaker role as the Scarlet Knights approach their second scrimmage.

“It feels good to be out there with my teammates,” Martin said. “I wanted to show off all of the work I put in this whole offseason, and I couldn’t do that at first. I’m just training hard.”

Martin worked alongside Paul James and Josh Hicks during Thursday’s practice in the deepest position group at Rutgers.

“I feel as though they do have the upper hand because they’ve been out here every day busting their tails,” Martin said after his third practice. “I’m just trying to get back to that point and keep pushing my teammates.

“I’m looking to showcase my talent, but my teammates want to do the same thing. I’m trying to compete every day. I love the competition. We feed off of one another. When one person is in the game doing well, the next person wants to come in and do it as well. Just keep the momentum going.”

Martin exploded into action as a true freshman with 434 yards, five yards per carry and seven touchdowns. After a good first impression, Martin said he wants to showcase his increased knowledge of the role as a sophomore.

“I’ve learned a lot, not even about running back,” Martin said. “I’m learning defenses, learning different schemes, learning protections from the linemen. [Associate head coach Norries Wilson] is definitely a smart coach and he’s getting us better every day.

“ … I think I’ve improved a lot from watching film during the offseason and seeing it stick in my brain.”

The Saturday night scrimmage marks practice day No. 5 since Martin’s return.

“It was an adjustment with all of the plays and protections and schemes,” Martin said. “I was behind there. But I felt good. I was definitely in good shape. I was ready to get out there. I’m not caught up yet. I have to keep my head in the playbook and be consistent.”

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