Notes: The OL, Greene and Recruits

Rutgers will have three new starters on the offensive line, but veteran Art Forst said there isn't concern because the unit is melding well together. Forst talks about why the unit is gelling quickly, and what he was so pleased about in Thursday's practice. Also, Khaseem Greene talks about what needs to happen for him to win the starting free safety job. Plus, what recruits watched practice?

PISCATAWAY – Art Forst isn't exactly sure how Rutgers' offensive line will shape up five months from now, but after two days of spring practice he sure likes where it's heading.

Forst said the camaraderie, leadership and mental approach is strong, and combined with the talent, he isn't stressing about losing three starters from a year ago.

"I think a big part of it is you have to watch film together,'' Forst said, "and you have to sit and have right tackle, right guard, center, left guard, left tackle, sitting in that order, and making the calls of what you see and play the game in your head so you can get reps without beating your body up on the practice field. It's something we'll be doing better at this year.''

Last season the Scarlet Knights were talented, but the offensive line was unsettled. Whether it was an injury to Caleb Ruch, the need for improved play in the middle, or a late-season injury to Desmond Wynn, the offensive line never fully clicked.

"We never felt totally settled last year,'' Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "We were always searching. You'd like to get it at least where you have five guys where you feel like, these are the five, and from there you have six, seven, eight.

"We tinkered with that line all the way to week seven or eight, and then a guy gets hurt and we're still tinkering with it.''

Spring is for experimenting, but so far there has been consistency on the left side with Devon Watkis at tackle and Forst at guard, a place he could stay even after Desmond Wynn, who is out because of shoulder surgery, returns to the fold in the fall.

"They talked about (playing right tackle), but I think we had some guys step up at left tackle and show marked improvement, like Desmond Wynn,'' Forst said. "Although he has a shoulder issue, he was working out at left tackle as much as he could, and Desmond Stapleton stepped up huge at right tackle. He's getting stronger, and really getting better in every way.''

Since returning from the winter break in January, Forst said the offensive line, behind the leadership of center Howard Barbieri, spent plenty of time watching film together and building a rapport within the unit.

"It's a marked improvement,'' Forst said. "Today, I know the left side, I'm pretty sure we had no missed assignments, which for day two is very good. For day 15 that is pretty good.

"If you can run a 30-play script and not have any missed assignments, I think that's huge. I think we got better there. Obviously, there were technique things there, but at least if you know who to block, you at least have chance.''

Greene trying to fill the void
Red-shirt sophomore free safety Khaseem Greene ran with the first team defense the first two practices as he tries to win the spot vacated by the graduation of Zaire Kitchen.

But how does one do that?

"You make plays,'' he said. "You do the little things. You listen. You're able to be coached, so you get criticized and you can take criticism. Things like that, and just basically perform.''

Greene is doing it with some familiar faces no longer around. Not only is Kitchen gone, but so is cornerback Devin McCourty, which has made for an interesting feeling on the practice field.

"You realize how quick everyone is gone,'' said Greene, who played nickel back last season. "I can remember being out there on third down, and Devin McCourty would be on of my sides, Zaire (Kitchen) would be on the other, and Joe (Lefeged) would be down in the box. It's different. It just lets you know how fast time flies, and how you're opportunity comes up pretty quick.''

Recruit watch
Defensive tackle Daryl Stephenson of Sayreville High (Parlin, N.J.) and receiver Tanner McEvoy of Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) attended practice. Both hold offers from Rutgers.

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