Fifth-year senior walk-on Billy Anderson was listed on the two-deep at the beginning of spring camp as the other CB starter, but junior Brandon Bing and sophomore David Rowe are competing for the starting job.
"David's gotten better. He's a young guy, so has Brandon, there is some good competition at the corner spot," said Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano on the open corner spot.
Both corners said they are taking their first team snaps seriously because they both realize that the spot is truly wide open with the departure of Jason McCourty.
"Yes, I'm excited because I'm within arm's reach of competing for the starting spot, but I can't get too excited," Bing said on the openness of the spot. "I've kind of been in this situation before. When I got here, I moved up to the second spot, but now it's just closer. Guys left. Key guys left so it's very exciting knowing that I could have the possibility of really playing."
Bing got as high as the second team last season, but his action was limited due to the arrival of Rowe and freshman defensive back Patrick Kivlehan. He did see action, however, and contributed two tackles in 11 games last season.
Bing saw the most action with the first team at the first scrimmage on April 4 and said afterwards that it's a spot he aims to hang onto this time.
"It's like, if I don't get it now then when? It's got to be now," Bing said. "Definitely I believe I can be one of those key guys. I bring some different things to that position to help my team win," he added. "[I] have speed, quickness and stuff like that … I have to work on some things, but I believe I can bring the covering aspect and excitement."
For Bing, his speed serves as a major advantage. Bing said that he is one of the fastest players on the roster, but cannot call himself the fastest because he has never raced many of the wideouts like Tim and Pat Brown.
"He's got very good speed," Schiano said on what Bing brings to the table. "He now understands the position much better than he did when he got here, that's for sure. He's right in the thick of the competition, we'll see."
Rowe, who is in a different position from Bing because he spent most of his time in nickel packages last season said that he feels excited for the chance to compete for an increased role.
"I feel more confident now that I know the defense better than last year," Rowe said.
"Everybody's out there just competing, trying to get an upper hand any way they can. We're all just out there having fun and whoever ends up being the starter is going to play and everybody else is going to fill in where needed."
Throughout the spring and for the remaining four practices, both Bing and Rowe said that they have specific goals.
Bing, who has gained significant understanding of the defensive schemes during his two years here, said that he wants to become a more complete corner.
"I can be [a big hitter]," he said. "I think that [getting a lot bigger] has helped me be more physical. That was one of my main goals coming in and still now is to be more physical, just trying to be that all-around corner that it's possible for me to be. Not just a cover guy, not a guy that can just run with everybody, but hit also."
"As far as knowing the game, yes I'm still a student of the game as far as making sure I'm doing everything right, not to be perfect, but strive to be perfect," Bing added.
Rowe, on the other hand, wants to get better on the outside.
"Overall I'm just trying to get stronger and learn the defense better because last year I played inside and all of my reps were pretty much inside at nickel and this year I'm just trying to get used to the corner and being out on that island," Rowe said.
McCourty, who is now in his fifth year in the system, has seen both corners develop over the past two years and said after practice that he could see either one playing alongside him next season.
"Bing brings excitement. When you watch him out there, he's a small guy, but he's running out there playing 100 miles per hour and that's exciting to see a guy who's just eager to make a play," McCourty said.
"Rowe's like the calm guy in the meeting room. Off the field, he's just always really calm and laid back so you're not really worried about him being worried about the pressure and being out on the field and that's the reason why he was able to play his true freshman year."
Heckuva battle for the #2 CB spot
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