Sophomore Dacoven Bailey was one of the few receivers standing by the conclusion of Rutgers spring camp. Bailey was not full contact for most of spring, but he got enough to gain confidence.
Bailey played both ways as a true freshman. His first spring at Rutgers focused on specialization.
“My freshman year, I didn't understand the schemes of a defense,” said Bailey, who five passes for 51 yards in the spring game. “I was just running my routes. I have a better concept of what I'm doing. I still feel like I need to progress as a receiver. I need to loosen up my hips, improve on my releases and my separation. I'm slowly making progress.”
Bailey received a spotlight as a freshman following Janarion Grant's season-ending injury but did not live up to preseason expectations with seven touches and -3 yards from scrimmage.
“When Janarion went down, I was his backup,” Bailey said. “When your number is called, you have to step in and make plays. Now it's about being consistent. I know what's expected of me. I have to be more consistent but it's good to see him running and catching balls for us (in spring). He's making great process.”
Like the rest of the offense, Bailey said he loves the direction under new coordinator Jerry Kill.
“It's a lot more laid back than our last offense,” he said. “When he sees us tired, he'll try to give us a break, slow the tempo down and keep us going. It's more adjustments.”
Bailey likely cedes his return role to Grant when the latter returns to full form. Bailey wants to be a stronger contributor on special teams, however, after multiple muffed returns in the spring game.
“In order to play, you've got to be two deep on special teams,” he said. “When it's special teams in practice, I push even harder to show the coaches I'm capable of it. It's something I have to improve.”