Notes: Young fallout, Syracuse woes and more

No. 25 Rutgers travels to downtrodden Syracuse in hopes of extending its winning streak to four games, but will have to adjust because of the absence of key third-down running back Kordell Young. His injury means little-used running backs Jourdan Brooks and DeAntwan Williams could be pressed into significant duty to help take some of the pressure off Joe Martinek.

Rutgers senior receiver Tim Brown's head shake told of his pain. Sophomore running back Joe Martinek sighed and coach Greg Schiano spoke with a touch of sadness.

Each were discussing the season-ending loss of junior running back Kordell Young, who faces another long rehabilitation after learning his needs surgery on his right knee to repair a torn ligament.

"I have every bit of belief that he will get surgery and he will get well, fight his way back and be a productive player here,'' Schiano said. "That is the kind of young man that he is. I think one of the things that we talked about is that he is a guy like Zaire (Kitchen) that he can look to who has been down that path with multiple knee surgeries.''

Young's injury also creates a void in Rutgers' running back rotation, and will cause the 25th-ranked Scarlet Knights to alter their usage of leading rusher Joe Martinek heading into Saturday's game at Syracuse.

It also will force the Scarlet Knights to use sophomore Jourdan Brooks or freshman DeAntwan Williams into a more pronounced role.

Brooks did not play against South Florida, marking the second time in three games he was not used. Williams was inserted for Rutgers' last series against the Bulls, after the game was out of hand.

"We are going to have to mix and match,'' Schiano said. "Joe can do it. Jourdan can do it. There are a few people who can do it. We just have to watch reps on first and second down as well." With Young out in the second half of Thursday's win against South Florida, Martinek pulled double duty.

He matched a career-high with 25 carries for 128 yards, but rather than head to the sideline in obvious passing situations, Martinek absorbed Young's role and remained on the field because of his pass blocking ability.

"If they need me to do everything, I'm willing and I'll prepare,'' Martinek said. "Even if they decide to change it up, I'll still prepare as if I'm the starting running back and third down.''

However, Schiano gave the impression the coaching staff will have to decide how to limit Martinek's plays, and also whether Brooks or Williams will get some carries.

"We will probably do it by committee,'' Schiano said. "This guy can handle this and this guy can handle this. The great thing that Kordell could do is he really could understand protections and could scan, which is things that are done in the NFL that not a lot of college backs do very well.

"Kordell could do it and he helped us a great deal. We are going to really have to chop his job up a little bit and see if certain guys can do certain things."

Martinek said he didn't feel any different physically after the South Florida game despite the increased usage.

"I think conditioning is more mental,'' Martinek said. "If you think you're tired. If you take yourself out of the moment and not worry about the next play, then you're body can get tired. If you stay in the moment and move onto the next play and think about what you're going to do next, it won't be a problem.''

Scouting Syracuse
Not only is Syracuse 3-7 and not going to a bowl, the Orange also recently lost their best offensive and defensive players.

Receiver Mike Williams, whose 49 catches are still more than double any other play, quit the team and defensive tackle Arthur Jones is out with a knee injury.

"(Williams) jumps off the tape at you,'' Schiano said. "We watch every game from the whole season. He is an incredible athlete. They have had guys step up. That is one of the beautiful things about football. There are always opportunities. One guy's misfortune is another guy's opportunity

"Arthur Jones and (Rutgers') Devin (McCourty) are probably playing the best football as any defensive players in the league. That is a huge loss. There weren't many people that blocked him efficiently and consistently during the year.

"Double teams didn't matter. He is a dominant player. I said it last year, I thought he would be a first-round pick if he came out last year. He is that good of a player."

No place like Dome
Because playing in a dome is so different, Schiano said the Scarlet Knights may practice Thursday in the bubble to simulate the Carrier Dome's feel.

"We might do it just to look up and get used to seeing the ball against the bubble-type seeing,'' Schiano said. "It gets louder a lot quicker in there with an enclosed structure so we have be ready to handle the noise issues."

Barbieir, Wynn both right
Rutgers junior Howard Barbieri started at right guard against South Florida but Desmond Wynn also logged plenty of playing time, and it looks like that rotation will continue.

"I don't think we are going to get away from that unless somebody really distinguishes themselves,'' Schiano said. "It has kind of been feeling our way through it and we are still at that point. I think Howard, the more he plays the more comfortable he becomes. That is a good thing."

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