Beljour taking advantage of his opportunity

Rutgers fullback Jean Beljour started off the season as a backup to sophomore Jack Corcoran, but since the game against Syracuse, Beljour has worked himself into the starting lineup.

Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano examines his players every week and determined that Beljour was the best man for the starting job. RU running back Ray Rice has noticed the strong work ethic of Beljour as one of the reasons for his increased role on the team.

"He really just went out there and played flawless," Rice said. "He really tries to be the best that he can be. That is one thing that Coach (Schiano) preaches and he has really been trying to do his job."

At Hackensack High School in New Jersey, Beljour rushed for 1200 yards and registered 60 tackles in his senior season. In his junior year, he gained over 1700 yards and scored 24 touchdowns.

When Beljour got to Rutgers in 2004, he played primarily on special teams. His presence in that facet of the Rutgers game continued through his first three years On The Banks. Since the departure of Brian Leonard last season, Rutgers felt the necessity to fill the huge hole at the fullback spot. Corcoran originally filled that hole, but Coach Schiano has since inserted Beljour, the veteran, in the starting lineup.

"The coaching staff has always been really positive and really encouraging," Beljour said. "They have always been telling me to prepare like you're the starter. Eventually that paid off, preparing as if I was going to be the guy."

Beljour has had a chance to be the guy and has taken full advantage of it. His first start came against Syracuse and now in consecutive weeks, he is going up against top ten schools. The first resulted in a win for Rutgers over South Florida. The second game is this Saturday against West Virginia.

"Each week it gets a little easier and easier," Beljour said. "Preparing has always been the same. Prepare as if you're the starter if you're not the starter and if you are the starter, you have to make sure you know your stuff front to back."

"Also, you have to make sure the guy behind you knows his stuff front and back just in case something god for bid happens to you."

Ironically, Beljour felt more nerves before the Syracuse game because it was the first game he was the starter. He is getting more comfortable as the weeks go on.

"Going into the first game I was trying to be cool about it," Beljour said. "I was a nervous wreck. It worked out though, but it was something I had to play off."

Luckily for Beljour, the offense is a very experienced group with more than the necessary support group. He credits his teammates as to why he has been successful.

"The best thing about those guys is not only that they know their stuff, they are able to teach it," Beljour said. "They are just [full of] positive encouragement. They are constantly motivating. They are letting me know this is what you have to do, 'let's watch film, let's do this.' The best way to describe it is having a bigger brother everywhere you go."

During Beljour's senior season, he now has a chance to crack the starting lineup and now prepares to play in a contest where both his Scarlet Knights and the opposing Mountaineers are ranked in the top-25 (according to the AP poll), 25th and sixth respectively.

Like his fellow teammates, the most important thing for Beljour is seeing the "W" after the conclusion of each game.

"Football is a game that is played week-to-week, day-by-day, a game of inches you might say," Beljour said. "Things change over a period of time. If I am not the best guy tomorrow or the next week after, whatever gives my team a chance to win, I am all for it. And like coach says, the best guy will play."

On Saturday, the player introductions will include one Jean Beljour as the starting fullback, because he is the best guy.

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