Notes: Beauharnais' move, Carrezola and more

Rutgers sophomore-to-be Steve Beauharnais was a suprise at strongside linebacker last season, and now is being asked to fill a bigger role on the 2010 defense. He talks about his move to middle linebacker. Also, tight end Paul Carrezola is ready to compete for a spot in the rotation after injuries derailed him at the outset of his freshman season. Also, a few tidbits.

PISCATAWAY – Rutgers' latest bowl win was solidified earlier in the evening, and already Steve Beauharnais' teammates were joking around with him.

He was already calling plays in nickel packages and the Scarlet Knights were losing middle linebacker Ryan D'Imperio, so someone had to move into the role.

Beauharnais was the natural choice, and he embraced the move from strongside linebacker to the middle, where he is currently excelling during spring practice.

"We were celebrating in the (team hotel) lounge, and we were talking about what's going to happen next year,'' Beauharnais said in recalling the conversations. "They said they were probably going to move me to (middle). After everyone was settled down, teammates were all saying it.

"They felt like if I did that in third-down, (the coaches) were just trying to get me prepared for running the base package, and maybe my teammates thought I was the most reliable young linebacker we had. You've got Antonio Lowery, who plays (weakside), and he's very comfortable there, so why move him?''

Beauharnais, who will be a sophomore, burst onto the Rutgers scene as a true freshman.

By the end of a 36-tackle, five-sack season, he earned the trust of the coaching staff to be a starter, and was quickly turning into one of the young faces of the defense for the next few seasons.

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Beauharnais combines instinct with speed, and his understanding of the defense and superb athleticism make him a natural to play in the middle.

"It's good,'' said Beauharnais, who added five pounds. "It's the main position you know growing up. You see them running sideline to sideline, you want to make those plays.''

With a season's worth of experience, Beauharnais is also markedly more comfortable in every aspect, on and off the field.

"I am relaxed because I'm just familiar with the defense, I'm familiar with the calls,'' Beauharnais said. "You're going to make mistakes, but at least you should get the concept and not be lost out there, as opposed to last year, I didn't do spring ball. I came in the summer program, and camp was my preparation time.''

Carrezola's turn?
A hamstring injury which morphed into a lower back problem limited tight end Paul Carrezola in practice last summer and fall, but through three spring practices the red-shirt freshman from Neshaminy (Longhorne, Pa.) he is beginning to show is talent.

"I feel a lot better this year,'' Carrezola said. "Bigger, stronger, more durable than what I was last year, and getting hurt kind of set me back a little bit.''

Carrezola, who is 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, is vying with D.C. Jefferson, Malcolm Bush, Tony Trahan and Malcolm Bush for playing time. So far, Carrezola has shown nice hands in the passing game, and is improved from a year ago as a blocker.

But there is one thing, above all else, Carrezola needs to improve upon.

"I would say relaxing,'' he said, "taking my time and getting everything set in my mind before I go to execute the play. It's getting better.''

If he can limit the mental mistakes, and if Jefferson continues his development, it could make Rutgers' tight ends formidable for opposing defenses.

"There's a lot of room (to produce),'' Carrezola said. "There are things we do with our offense that vary drastically, so there's room for plays everywhere, catching the ball and blocking.''

Extra points Schiano said he continued to like the improvement of the receivers, but noted the unit was "better. They're improved. You would hope they would be. They're a year older, more mature …and they're blocking better.'' …Mason Robinson, who missed last season with a knee injury, is back to running back after being shifted to receiver last offseason. …Rutgers will scrimmage April 10, 17 and 24, which is the Scarlet-White spring game.

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