Sam Hellman / Scarlet Report

Tuesday Practice Report: Rutgers Safeties in Action

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The newly-promoted Bill Busch breaks down Rutgers defensive backs, including the key to a strong spring and a healthier roster.

The Headline – Rutgers may be low on numbers, but the guys available at defensive back stole the show in spring practice. Injuries held down many position groups while Bill Busch's defensive backs stayed healthy and aggressive through the spring campaign.

Blessuan Austin, Kiy HesterIsaiah Wharton and Saquan Hampton all return as players with starting experience.

“Durability has been great,” said Busch, who changed titles to co-defensive coordinator in the offseason. “We've had guys that have been out there for every practice, and that adds up. We've had guys that are at practice very day. I've been really excited about that. Saquan Hampton really did a great job last year, and we lose him in the second quarter of the Washington game. He came back and was so tough and played. To have him back and healthy at safety has really meant a lot to us.”

Rutgers is low on bodies in spring, but that changes soon. The Scarlet Knights could add as many as six scholarship defensive backs for training camp.

“(We expect) a lot, right from the get go,” Busch said. “We've had some guys that have been able to come and watch practice and be around. They'll get a lot of reps right from the start. Where it's different now with them being here for the summer, we can prepare them. We can have video teaching things for them. We'll get them prepared more mentally, also. It's not just the physical part. They'll struggle a little bit with the physicality when they first get here, then they'll catch up to that. Then they'll figure out how much the mental part kicks in. Those guys, we're going to lean on them pretty heavy right away.”

Worth Noting – A hamstring forced walk-on safety Lawrence Stevens into a medical red-shirt for 2016. The former Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep starter returns healthy to the second team in spring.

“I'm bouncing back,” Stevens said. “I had a good winter as far as getting strength back in my hamstring. It's been very frustrating last year, being hurt the third game.. It's been a good bounce back. The coaches have been on me hard and the trainers have been pushing me to get back where I am. I'm stronger, faster. I know the playbook better.”

Quote of the Day – “There's nothing more important than the people that played here in the past. There's been a lot of good success here in the past and a lot of guys that had great careers here. The thing that jumps out the most when I've had a chance to talk to a lot of the alumni and former players is how much they love the place.” – Busch on Rutgers history, guest coaches Mohamed Sanu and Duron Harmon.


Scarlet Report Top Stories