Thursday Practice Report: Run that Ball

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The focus is fully on football for the Scarlet Knights, and Rutgers head coach spoke after Thursday's light practice about the surging running game and latest on the injury front.

The Headline – With 6.2 yards per carry and 63 points on the board, why mess with what works For Rutgers and head coach Kyle Flood, there is no plan for a change in the running game after a strong statistical showing against Norfolk State.

Flood rotated his running backs per series with senior Paul James out first. Expect the same strategy against Washington State.

“I think we’ve got some really talented guys back there,” Flood said. “We want to give them all a chance to touch the ball and keep them fresh as the game goes on.”

James ran for 82 yards on 15 touches in his return from ACL surgery, and sophomore Josh Hicks was every bit as explosive as he was when he won the Detroit Quick Lane Bowl MVP trophy. He ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns last week.

“I think they’re all a little bit different,” Flood said. “When I think of complimentary runners in my mind, it goes OK, you’ve got a bigger back and a smaller back and a change of pace type of situation. I don’t know if that’s the case. I don’t know if there’s much of a size different between those guys. I do think that all of their skillsets are a little bit unique.”

Worth Noting  -- Sophomore starting quarterback Chris Laviano received “more toward the traditional” amount of first-team reps this week, Flood said. Backup Hayden Rettig saw action, but it was not the split work between the two like it was heading into Norfolk State.
Quote of the Day – “I thought Chris had a good week, I thought Hayden had a good week. Chris got more of the reps this week as the starter than Hayden did. Now we’re excited to see him go out there and do it on Saturday.”

Around the Big Ten – As the Rutgers quarterback war finally quiets down, it remains a hot topic at Ohio State with both Cardale Jones and JT Barrett available. For more on the story, click here.

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