Tuesday Practice Report: Rutgers WR Drops, Separation

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers wide receivers coach Jafar Williams dissects recent struggles at the position and preparation for another top-five opponent without star Janarion Grant.

The Headline – Five drops is about five drops too many for the Rutgers wide receivers, and position coach Jafar Williams put extra emphasis on improvement in practice.

A former wide receiver for the Maryland Terrapins, Williams uses his personal experience at the position in coaching.

“That's a concentration thing,” Williams said. “I played the position. I know that. I don't think anybody in our room doesn't have good hands. It's a matter of focus and concentrating on catching the ball before you run, squeezing the ball once you do. We're going to go against some good corners in this league and they're taught to rip the ball out. We have to do a good job of having strong hands and focusing on catching the ball.”

Separation against press coverage remains a focus for the receiver group. Red-shirt freshman Jawuan Harris

“We work on it every day,” Williams said. “I think one of the issues with us is continuing to improve with our hands, making sure our hands are up and ready, not letting the defender get his hands on us before we're able to release. Improving our hand combat is going to be important.”

Harris worked alongside true freshman Dacoven Bailey in the slot at practice in his second week back on offense.

“[Bailey] brings good energy,” Williams said. “Obviously he's athletic. He's been getting a lot of reps in there. Obviously he still has a cast on his hand but I think he's able to catch the ball now. It's a smaller cast than what he had before. I think he'll be able to help us on Saturdays.”

No receivers were available for comment after today's practice, however Harris spoke Monday about the position.

“We weren't getting a lot of time, so it was a lot of quick passes getting thrown out,” he said. “Personally, I wasn't getting pressed in the slot. On the outside, I felt we did alright. We didn't really take as many shots as we thought we would have.”

Worth Noting – Look for multiple shake ups at safety against Michigan. Starter Saquan Hampton returned to the practice field after nearly a month's absence for injury reasons. Cornerback Ross Douglas, a Michigan graduate transfer, also practice today at safety.

Quote of the Day – “I'm really excited because a ranked team like Michigan is coming into a really cool atmosphere. Personally, I love night games. It shouldn't be that much different because football is football and I love to play no matter what time it is. The atmosphere at home is going to be really cool. Everything should be in our favor in terms of the environment.” – Chris Laviano.

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