The Headline – Rutgers faces a tough offensive line Saturday but a stronger defensive line rotation helps the veteran position group for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers got spectacular production out of its defensive line starters against New Mexico. The starting four combined for 32 tackles and four TFLs against the Lobos but the second unit stood out most on film to the coaching staff.
“I thought there was more guys we were able to roll with,” said defensive line coach Shane Burnham. “Darnell Davis got in there and made a few plays. Myles Nash got in and made a play. Kevin Wilkins had a sack. I just felt we were able to roll some guys. I'm getting more comfortable. If you go back to week one, I think I played Darius [Hamilton] and JPO (Julian Pinnix-Odrick) like 60 snaps apiece. I don't want to do that. I'm getting more comfortable playing the twos and mixing and matching our ones and twos.”
Burnham sees an eight-man rotation with his defensive line, and one upon which he can rely more heavily after performances against New Mexico.
“As we get into third-down packages and it builds out, we might add a couple of guys to the rotation,” Burnham said. “Right now eight.”
Davis and Myles Nash stepped up as backup defensive ends in the eyes of captain Darius Hamilton.
“I think people saw a little bit of that, just in playing New Mexico, exactly how far along they've come. Guys like Darnell Davis, really coming into his own. A guy like Myles Nash, it's really good to see the progression they've made and a I know they'll continue to do good things moving forward.”
Worth Noting – Injured pass rusher Kemoko Turay may be closer to a return for Rutgers in the eyes of his position coach.
“He's been on scout team a lot trying to get the run game,” Burnham said. “He's been doing some pass rushing on the third-down package with us. It could be this weekend. We'll see. He felt good this morning when we checked in with him before practice. We'll see how he feels after banging around with him two days in a row.”
Quote of the Day – “You only move good players. You don't move a player who can't play to a different place. Any time you're moving a player it's always a positive for that player that's getting moved.” – Safety coach Bill Busch on linebacker Ronnie James.