Thursday Practice Report

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — In the first post-Ray Rice season, the running back depth has certainly guaranteed heavy competition among his four potential protégés.

Vying for the starting position, tailbacks Mason Robinson and Kordell Young struggled offensively during Wednesday's second and final intrasquad scrimmage. However, Young's excellent stamina impressed Rutgers football head coach Greg Schiano.

"With Kordell, I thought it was big the two runs he had during the two-minute drill," Schiano told reporters after Thursday's practice. He's tired, really tired, but he was able to pop two runs. That was good for him and good for us."

After he reviewed the tape, Schiano addressed the running game, which struggled yesterday.

"As I figured, the run game was a lot closer than it appeared, a block here, a step there," Schiano said. "As I watched the tape I saw that Mason and Kordell probably hit the wall. So we rested them some and let the other guys get the lion's share of the work."

Those others guys include Joe Martinek and Jourdan Brooks who have earned more reps in training camp.

"I think Joe continues to deserve more and more reps," Schiano said. "Today he got more touches along with Jordan."

With several options in the backfield, Schiano said he feels comfortable using all four of them, but remains uncertain "if it's fair to a running back."

"Do you ever get the feel for what you're doing? I think it depends on who your kid is too," Schiano said.

Meanwhile, an ankle sprain sidelined starting left guard Kevin Haslam. Howard Barbieri replaced Haslam on the offensive line. Second-string center Marlon Romulus rotated to guard, as well as Desmond Stapleton, while Matthew Hardison shifted to center.

Schiano said he expects Haslam back in the lineup "relatively soon." But, he remains cautious about his players' health.

"We've done more in the kicking game in scrimmages, which hopefully will be a positive without getting anybody bumped up," he said. "That's what you fear. You fear with high-speed collisions. Bad things can happen but that's not been the case."

Depth Chart Movement:

Schiano said the true freshman Marcus Cooper is getting a look at wide receiver, six or seven deep.

Defensively, Patrick Kivlehan, a St. Josephs of Montvale product, has also progressed thus far. "Pat is a really good player," Schiano said. "It doesn't shock you. Our history with those St. Joes guys is tremendous. They're coached very well, and Pat comes here understanding football." Starting cornerback twins Devin and Jason McCourty also graduated from Kivlehan's alma mater.

Schiano said Kivlehan may earn time with special teams this season.

Schiano also said red-shirt sophomore Al-Ghaffaar Lane will not require surgery to the leg injury he suffered during scrimmage, but will remain out of practice "for a while."

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