"We can only control the way we play"

CB Devin McCourty is expected to play a huge role in the secondary after leading the team in interceptions and finishing sixth in tackles. He can hit a receiver in the mouth, but also pick-off a QB who's not paying attention. With his brother on his other side for a second season, this has all the makings of a big year for him.

Devin McCourty has high expectations for this year's Rutgers' defense. He can't be blamed.

The Scarlet Knights are returning eight starters on the defensive side of the ball and the secondary has plenty of experience. Courtney Greene will lead the secondary, Joe Lefeged started when Ron Girault went down, and McCourty's brother Jason, will play alongside him at corner.

"It's exciting to be a part of a defense like this," McCourty said. "We have a lot of guys back who are out here ready to make plays so it's exciting."

Any success Rutgers has, McCourty will be expected to play some kind of role in. He's always been a cornerback that can hit and he has a nose for the ball. In 2006, he finished with 38 tackles, including a team leading 14 stops on special teams, and had two interceptions.

The next year he became a starter and finished sixth on the team with 63 tackles. McCourty picked off a team best two passes and was second on the team with seven pass defensed (his brother led the team).

This year should be an even better year for McCourty because of the competition he has to line up against each practice in First Team All-Big East wide receiver Tiquan Underwood and Second Team All-Big East receiver Kenny Britt. Going against that all-conference duo on a daily basis has kept McCourty on his toes throughout the summer. He also knows that he can go to either one of them when he has a question about receivers because they're close to each other off the field.

"Those two are competitors," McCourty said about Britt and Underwood. "And [my brother and I] are competitors too, so ever since the summer we've been competing with each other. They make plays, we make plays and we'll talk to each other because we're good friends off the field."

"But on the field, we like to go after each other."

Another small tidbit that can explain why he will be better this season is his brother is a corner and will be starting opposite of him. They've been playing together since they were eleven and have forged a bond that allows McCourty to go to his brother whenever necessary.

"We always talk about everything we see on the field," McCourty said about his brother Jason. "Whether it's after a play or series, we always discuss what we see just in case [the offense] tries it on the other side. We have a good relationship so we understand each other and it's easy to discuss what we see on the field."

His brother said this is the best camp he's been apart of and Devin can't disagree. He's become close with a lot of the seniors and is thrilled to have one last season with him. The downside is that this is the last season he will be playing with some of these guys.

"I'm excited that our seniors are back because they're my best friends," he said. "It's kind of bittersweet though because this is my last camp with these guys."

The Knights haven't been treated too kindly by the pundits who have them finishing in the middle of the Big East, but still making a bowl game. Sports Illustrated came out with its college football preview magazine and had Rutgers sixth.

That doesn't bother McCourty though. All that matters is the results because that's the only thing they can determine.

"The team cares about standings and results," he said. "We can't control where other people pick us, we can only control the way we play."


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