Notes: Brooks back, Kitchen on Young

Rutgers running back Jourdan Brooks went from potential starter to not being used in two of the last four games. While many folks wondered why Brooks fell out of the rotation, he knew why. And he talks about it. Also, if anyone knows the trauma of multiple knee surgeries, it is safety Zaire Kitchen. He had three ACL surgeries, and now is helping teammmate Kordell Young through his latest setback.

While everyone outside the program wondered why Jourdan Brooks fell behind Joe Martinek at running back, Brooks never flinched.

He knew the answer.

"I think I need to be more consistent in my pass blocking and running the right routes,'' Brooks said Wednesday.

It is a poignant reminder there is markedly more to playing running back than carrying the ball, and Brooks knows it.

And with Rutgers forced to alter its running back rotation because of the season-ending injury to Kordell Young, Brooks believes he put in the necessary work to get another opportunity in the backfield.

To get there, Brooks, who didn't play in two of the last four games, said he changed his study habits. His main alteration was increasing his communication with running backs coach Randy Trivers to make sure he had his assignments down.

"It's watching more film, sitting down with coach T, working with him, staying in my playbook more and trying to come out and display my talent on the (practice) field,'' Brooks said. "I used to sit in my room and study by myself, and now I go to coach T and ask questions of him and make sure I have it.''

Brooks has carried 28 times for 277 yards and four touchdowns this season.

Despite not playing against Pittsburgh and South Florida, Brooks said he never got down.

"I'm not that kind of kid,'' Brooks said. "I have trust in the coaches here because I know they have a great scheme and a great game plan. I love this place, they treat us well, they always keep us in their hearts. And, I've got plenty of time.''

Feelin' for Kordell
If any of the Scarlet Knights know what red-shirt junior running back Kordell Young is up against as he readies for the second reconstructive knee surgery of his Rutgers career, it is senior strong safety and roommate Zaire Kitchen.

Kitchen had three anterior cruciate ligament surgeries, two of which came on his right knee.

"The first week is actually rough finding out that you tore your ACL,'' Kitchen said. "I just try to motivate and give him courage and encourage him that everything is going to be ok.

"He has been through it already and I've been through three, so I know what he's going through mentally, and especially being a red-shirt junior, and this happening this late in the season is not the best thing in the world because he was just getting back in the mix, getting more carries.''

Young, who had his left knee reconstructed in 2007, was injured his right knee last Thursday against South Florida.

"I think he's coming back around and getting over it,'' Kitchen said. "I told him, ‘You know what, Kordell? You're going to be ok.' He's the type of kid who likes to work hard to get to where he needs to be.

We go back and forth joking around, saying, dang, you're going to be in the training room … all the time. I'm going to be in there, too, getting treatment on my knees.''

Injury report
Rutgers offensive tackle Desmond Stapleton (ankle) was able to participate in practice, but his status for the game is uncertain.

"He's getting better,'' Rutgers coach Schiano said. "I think it's going to be slow, but he's fighting through it.''

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