Rutgers Wednesday Practice Report: Football Focus Returns

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers hits the practice fields Wednesday to prepare for the unique Indiana offensive attack and build upon its failed upset bid against No. 4 Michigan State. Coach Kyle Flood spoke after a practice for the first time since September with the focus back on football.

The Headline – Rutgers has a three-man running back rotation, but junior Justin Goodwin remains a valuable piece in a separate role from the other trio.

Goodwin emerged in training camp as a weapon as the third-down back. He demonstrated his value against Michigan State in key drives with good blitz pickup and the ability to move the chains.

“Justin has done excellent,” said coach Kyle Flood. “When we started talking about him in that role, what you’re looking for is a guy who’s got great awareness, very smart football player, which he is, to be able to kind of diagnose where the blitzes are coming from and picking them up and then somebody who’s willing to block them and can also be a threat catching them out of the backfield. I think he’s shown all of those things, all of the qualities you’d want in a third-down back.”

Goodwin has 12 touches for 82 yards this season.

Worth Noting – When asked about J.J. Denman’s struggles against Michigan State, Flood pointed to the level of competition and need for more experience.

“I just want him to keep working, keep getting better,” Flood said. “He played against a good player out there. Shilique Calhoun is one of the better defensive linemen in this league, and people talk about him like a first-round draft pick. That’s what he looks like when you watch him on film. He’s tough to handle, so we’ve got to make sure for J.J., he’s just got to keep playing.”

Quote of the Day – “The proverbial red gumball, now Tevin Coleman plays for my friend [coach Dan Quinn] in Atlanta. He certainly got a good recommendation from me, I would tell you that.” – Flood on last year’s 307-yard game for Coleman against Rutgers.

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