Wednesday Practice Report: Eye Discipline & Freshman Playing Time

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- What roles change in the defensive secondary with injury concerns against a triple-option offense? Assistant defensive backs coach Aaron Henry breaks it down in today's practice report.

The Headline – Rutgers is well aware of the passing dangers of New Mexico despite its triple option style.

If cornerbacks coach Aaron Henry has anything to say about it, the Lobos will not catch his players sleeping.

“The biggest thing for my guys on the outside being the cornerback position, they can't be lulled to sleep,” Henry said. “Every play has got to be exciting. They have to think of every play coming at them whether it's the pass game or the run game. Obviously they're going to be asked to tackle like they're asked to tackle every week.”

Rutgers heads into kickoff with major projected roles for both true freshman Damon Hayes and converted classmate Dacoven Bailey. Bailey's move is temporary but necessary for kickoff.

“Damon started off really well,” Henry said. “He's been moving position now with injuries. He's gotten a lot more reps. His work ethic has been awesome. He's been in-tune the whole time but now he's got to grow up. He's being thrown into the fire a little bit more based off our health at the position.

“Dacoven is an athlete. He can play everything. His speed is something that gives him that versatility to play both sides of the ball. We're really excited about him. It's not a permanent move but it's a move we've got to make right now on behalf of the team.”

Injured junior Ross Douglas missed most of practice this week after his mid-game injury against Howard.

Worth Noting – Linebacker Deonte Roberts started his first college game against a similar offense against Army. Now a sophomore, the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Erasmus Hall product feels comfortable against New Mexico's scheme.

“I'm actually looking forward to the challenge of it,” Roberts said. “You only see teams like this, triple option, once a year. You definitely get excited to play against these guys. We have a good group of guys that are ready to be competing.”

Quote of the Day – “Crack, crack, they'll try to act like they're blocking and then all of a sudden they're going out for a pass. You can't let that happen. You have to stay on them, body on body, the whole time.” – Cornerback Isaiah Wharton on mindset against a run-heavy offense.

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