Monday Rutgers Report: Cornerback Isaiah Wharton Ready for Target on Back

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Isaiah Wharton knows what is in store for him as a cornerback after an inconsistent performance against Indiana. Does the sophomore from Kissimmee, Fla., want a target on his back against Michigan State?

The HeadlineIsaiah Wharton watches film too, so he can figure out the same battle plan that Michigan State's offense will after Saturday's loss to Indiana.

The Hoosiers aggressively and successfully targeted Wharton in a big passing day, so the sophomore cornerback is ready for it again.

“I know after they watch the film, I'm going to get targeted more this week,” Wharton said. “I've got to be ready. I've got to have a good week of practice.”

Wharton said “every cornerback” wants an offense to attack him. After a rough week on film, he looks forward to another challenge.

“They can go either way,” Wharton said on deep balls. “That's why they're called 50-50 balls. I feel like I left some plays out there Saturday that I know I can make. I'm really confident within myself. I have a really good coaching staff behind me that's pushing me every day. Next time, I'll make them.”

After a seventh loss, morale remains “great” within the Hale Center, Wharton said.

“We're working hard,” he said. “We had a great day of practice yesterday, and we're still having a lot of fun with what we do. We're still looking for that win because we know we are a good team.”

Worth Noting – Safety will be a three-man rotation this week with practice as the determining factor for how much action Anthony Cioffi, Kiy Hester and Saquan Hampton see against Michigan State. Cioffi's role dropped in favor of Hester after a missed tackle on Indiana's second touchdown.

We'll see how the week goes,” said coach Chris Ash. “Cioffi's been our starting strong safety. Cioffi's had some injury issues that have come up that's limited him in practice. Hurt him a little bit in this last game. That's why Kiy played more, and Kiy came back and was healthy. So we'll really have a three-man rotation. That's what we like to go through at safety with Saquon, with Anthony and with Kiy. They can play both positions. So it's not just Kiy, Hester, and Anthony Cioffi deal. It's a three-man rotation that regardless of what happens in a game, they can each play those two positions.”

Safeties coach Bill Busch foreshadowed Cioffi's durability last week when he referenced the massive amount of playing time prior to the Indiana game. Cioffi's health will play a role in how much action he sees this week, said defensive coordinator Jay Niemann.

Quote of the Day – “I think it's completely different. We're in year one, and they're in year whatever. They're a team that just came off a national playoff; we're not. So it is completely different from that standpoint. If you want to look at just this year and some of the close games, yeah, you could probably say there are similarities.” – Ash on comparing Rutgers and Michigan State.

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