Wednesday Rutgers Practice Report: Battling JT Barrett's Barrage

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- How does the developing Rutgers defense prepare for a rematch with Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett and a powerful offensive attack? Safeties coach Bill Busch discusses the keys on defense and his personal return to Ohio Stadium.

The Headline – For two years, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett represented bad news for Rutgers football. After he twice tore up the Rutgers defense, the third battle takes place Saturday against a developing new scheme.

Barrett has 10 touchdowns in two victories over Rutgers, and looks even more dangerous on film this season.

“He does a lot of things,” said safeties coach Bill Busch, who worked at Ohio State last season. “When you get somebody that can run the ball as well as him, he can get you in and out of plays and then also can throw it. He's a complete quarterback in every aspect. We have to be really sharp with our checks and what they're doing. The most important thing is for us to tackle well. We didn't tackle well in the Howard game. In the other three games we tackled very well.”

Tackling improved against Iowa, but Rutgers prepares for another game without starting free safety Saquan Hampton and likely special teams impact player Larry Stevens.

“I was very happy with, especially in the Iowa game, we tackled well,” Busch said. “When you get down to it, we had one [miss] before half right there and one before the turnover. … I've been happy with our progress, obviously it's just a constant work in progress. I know you hear it all the time. A coach will never say, 'yes, we're there.' We just need to keep focused.”

Busch worked for Meyer at Utah and again last season in quality control and advanced scouting at Ohio State. Saturday's return is about business as Busch echoes his coworkers thoughts on a trip to Columbus, Ohio.

“Great head coach, great guys on that staff over there but other than that, people talk about it but it really is normal preparation,” Busch said. “Do your normal stuff and just kind of go about your business to get our guys better. All we talk about, everything is about us with what we have to do to get ourselves better.”

Worth Noting – Sophomore cornerback Blessuan Austin likely receives the coverage responsibility against Noah Brown. Whether they match up every play or based on the formation is to be determined, but the pair have history as prospects from Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII and Queens (N.Y.) Campus Magnet.

I actually played him in an underclassman [all-star] game,” Austin said. “But actually I was playing receiver and he was playing receiver for the Jersey team, so I've seen him a little bit in high school.”

Brown leads Ohio State with five receiving touchdowns while Austin has been the top cover corner for Rutgers. He has 17 tackles and a team-high four pass break-ups.

Quote of the Day – “It's very exciting as every other game is. I don't think that just because it's Ohio State, it makes it any more exciting than any other game. Whenever I get a chance to play football, it's a blessing and I'm happy. … The fans don't play football, so I'm not really worried about them. I'm worried about Ohio State players actually playing. That's where my focus is.” - walk-on Greg Jones on starting in front of a Homecoming Ohio State crowd.


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