The Scarlet Knights missed Girault on a number of levels. Despite missing four
games, he still came in seventh in tackles with 49 this season. When healthy
last season, Girault was named Second Team All-Big East, after finishing fourth
on the team in tackles with 69 and second with three interceptions.
"Ronnie is such a bright football player that when he is out there, there is a certain calmness about the defense," RU Head Coach Greg Schiano said. "He gets everyone lined up. He has been playing for four years and starting for four years, so he should be confident."
Besides the numbers, Girault provides leadership both on and off the field.
On the field, he is the signal caller on defense. He quarterbacks the defense
to make sure that everyone is lined up where they belong. However, it is the
off the field stuff that makes the best leaders.
Girault agrees that his leadership ability has grown immensely because of his
starting experience. He became a starting safety midway through his freshman
season "On the Banks."
"Being that this is my fourth year as a starter, I have a lot of experience," Girault said. "I help out with some the little things I might pick up, from watching film, being around, or playing a lot. I try to pick (stuff) up and let the other guys know and make sure everyone stays composed."
Freshman safety Joe Lefeged spoke earlier in the season with StateofRutgers.com and credited Girault among a few players who really helped Lefeged become acclimated to starting at safety when Girault went down.
Lefeged also said that the coaching staff has the edict to all players to practice
like a starter and that mentality is passed along from the starters to the backups.
Girault tried to become as instrumental as possible in the development of the younger players, like Lefeged, both before and during his injury.
"It was kind of tough sitting out and not being able to practice with the guys and not being out there during the games," Girault told StateofRutgers.com on Nov. 28. "I just concentrate on helping out the young guys or whoever else is out there as much as possible through watching film, going over the plays and everything like that."
Luckily, Girault came back to start the last three games of the season and
now gets to play in his final bowl game with Rutgers as the Scarlet Knights
(7-5) take on Ball State (7-5) in the International Bowl.
It is easy to just soak in the final bowl experience, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done prior to the game against Ball St.
"I am trying to enjoy it but then again I understand it is a game being played so I can't just sit back and enjoy it too much," Girault said. "There is still business and you have to take care of what you have to take care of."
Before the true preparations will begin for the International Bowl, the Scarlet
Knights will take a break for Christmas and spend the holiday with their families.
Players like Girault are going to cherish the chance to be home for a few days.
"This is the first time being home for Christmas in two years," Girault said. "It will be nice being home and seeing the family and enjoying the holidays."
With only weeks remaining in Girault's Rutgers career, he now sees the finality of his season and college career. However, one more game remains in focus before he takes off the Scarlet pads for the final time.
"Time flew basically," Girault said. "It was like last game ago I was just a freshman. Now, this is my last game as a Rutgers athlete. I am excited about it and I am ready to play with these guys one last time."