Wednesday's notebook: Johnson and LeGrand

Rutgers defensive end George Johnson practiced for a second straight day, but it is not a given he will play Saturday against Texas Southern. Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano addresses Johnson's status. Also, has sophomore Eric LeGrand finally found a home after spending his freshman season jumping from position to position? LeGrand gives his take on the situation.

Rutgers defensive end George Johnson, the leading tackle among the defensive linemen, may be held out of Saturday's homecoming affair against Texas Southern because of his injured ankle.

Johnson, who has 21 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks, practiced for a second straight day, but Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano wasn't sold on Johnson being available.

"I don't know if George is even going to play,'' Schiano said. "He didn't look great (Wednesday). We'll see.''

Johnson injured his ankle while recovering a fumble in the end zone against Maryland, and did not practice during last week's bye.

Compounding the issue of Johnson's return is the amount of pressure a defensive end puts on his ankle.

"The hardest thing about coming off a lower extremity injury is starting and stopping,'' Schiano said. "A lot of times you don't even know you're favoring it until you watch the tape. You have to put your foot into the ground and push into a man, then you see them (pull up a little).

"When they do that, I worry about that because when you alter the way you move, that's when you get hurt even worse.''

While Schiano had one opinion of Johnson while watching the live practice, he will wait until reviewing film before making a determination.

"We'll look at (Wednesday's) tape, because (Thursday) will be hard to tell,'' Schiano said. "(Thursday) will be just how he responds to (Wednesday's) activity. So, we'll see.''

Home at defensive tackle

Eric LeGrand bounced from defensive tackle to defensive end to fullback. His revolving door position made him leery whenever he was called to the coach's office, but those days are apparently behind him.

LeGrand, a sophomore recruited to play linebacker, has found comfort back at defensive tackle.

"I finally found a home at nose tackle,'' LeGrand said. "Coaches like me there. I don't think I'm moving any more.''

It is the most physical position LeGrand has played, and he has responded well. He has 11 tackles in four games, and is part of the eight-man rotation along the defensive line.

"You're right on the ball, and it's a fight to get there, to get to the quarterback, to stop the run. That's why I like it,'' the 6-foot-2, 260-pound LeGrand said. "I kind of have the technique down, but I'm still working on the little things. My hands have to get better.''

Schiano is pleased with the Colonia (N.J.) High product's development.

"I think Eric LeGrand is growing in his position,'' Schiano said. "He's playing the position and (doing) all the things it takes to do that.''

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