Coordinator Corner: Jay Niemann, Drew Mehringer Preview Rutgers at Michigan State

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- From injuries to game-planning to freshman development, Rutgers coordinators Jay Niemann and Drew Mehringer packed on the information in Monday's media session. How could a three-man safety rotation work? Where was Tylin Oden? Is Giovanni Rescigno ready for his homecoming?

Rutgers defensive coordinator Jay Niemann on Michigan State's quarterback situation...

"(Tyler O'Connor) could be the one playing. But if he's not, I don't think their offense changes a whole lot. I think the preparation's going to be pretty much the same regardless of who's behind the center. They're a very, very diverse offense — a lot of formations, a lot of motions, a lot of shifts will be balanced in terms of who runs it, who throws it. I don't think the play selection necessarily changes, regardless of who's back there."

On how much the bye week helped the linebackers...

"Well, we put in a good part week of work in the bye week and that doesn't necessarily mean hitting. But in terms of repetition, we got good recognition of formations and plays. We did get a lot of that good work in the bye week and that certainly factored in to how well we reacted to things that we saw in the game. I think particularly for the MIKE and the WILL, the front seven and its entirety probably as well."

On what he needs to see from the safety rotation...

“Consistency. That's the No. 1 thing. I think all have shown signs of quality play, and hopefully they'll continue to do that and hopefully all three compete really hard and make it a really tough decision. Honestly, the best scenario is they all play well enough in practice, well enough that they're ready to contribute and do contribute. I think if you get them all some reps in that game, that's going to make you better down the stretch. … I think that some of the things that have been nagging [Anthony Cioffi] led to performance issues on the field. Certainly he's played at a higher level than what he did on Saturday. I think those two things do relate. Hopefully he gets himself back to where he feels comfortable this week, where he can play like he can and like we've seen him do. I'm fully confident that will happen.”

Offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer on Tylin Oden's role at quarterback...

“You've got to find the right times to slide Tylin in there, and in the run game or the pass game. That opportunity wasn't there. We've talked about as a staff. And so just throwing him in there, just to throw him in there didn't make a whole lot of sense. But yeah, the plan going forward is still kind of to keep using him."

On Giovanni Rescigno's homecoming ...

"We hadn't talked about it yet. I'm sure he's probably going to be the player who uses the most tickets on the team, but I think, for him, it's exciting. It's exciting to play in front of his family. His family comes up to a bunch of our games. But I think he'll be in front of some people that haven't seen him play in person for a while, and I think that's exciting for him. He can do things. He does a good job of managing his emotions. He does very good job of that. You mention the word level-headed, he is and I think that's a calming force within our unit. So I do think that his emotions are going to be a tad bit high because of that, but I think he'll do a good job of doing exactly what we ask him to do and remain at the task at hand."

On Tariq Cole...

"Tariq has played well. I think for Tariq to continue to improve, I think there's always going to be an experience factor, especially in this league. I think coming out of playing the scout-team defense is not the same when you're getting rushed by some of the defensive ends in this league. So he's continuing to improve his fundamentals right now dramatically, he's just got a ways to go in terms of being a complete, solid football player. But I think the talent is there. I do think that the drive, the motivation is there for him to be a really good football player down the road and he's got to continue to work. He's a kid that, he takes coaching applies it. He goes out and practices really, really hard. And so I think that if he continues to do that, he's got a chance to be that blindside tackle that people talk about as an underrated guy that down the road will turn some heads."


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