Notes: Eric is LeGrand, Barbieri Hurt, etc.

Eric LeGrand moved around his first season at Rutgers, but has found a home at defensive tackle. He is hearing comparisons to one of the best defensive tackles during coach Greg Schiano's tenure, and should play a pivotal role on the defensive line in 2010. Also, during Monday's practice Rutgers starting center Howard Barbieri suffered a left knee injury and was on crutches at the end of practice.

PISCATAWAY – Undersized but quick. Strong and instinctive. The ability to dominate a game. Eric Foster had it, and turned into an all-American.

Junior Eric LeGrand has it, and for better or worse, is hearing the comparisons to one of Rutgers' favorite Sons.

"I've heard people compare me to him a lot, but we are two different people,'' said LeGrand, a defensive tackle. "I'm just hoping to get as good as he is one day and keep working hard and get to the best of my ability. I know that he was a very hard worker.

"He came from Florida, and the same as me, came here as a linebacker and moved to defensive line. I know he worked hard every day, and that's how he got as good as he did. "It's good to be compared to him, with how great he was.''

After playing three positions and jumping from defense to offense and back to defense, LeGrand settled in nicely as a strong special teams performer last season.

He made 33 tackles, including seven for loss last season, and hit the weight room hard. He increased his bench press 32 pounds to 407 pounds, added 35 pounds to his squad (now 535) and increased his power clean by 10 pounds to 340.

Now, he is performing well in spring practice and proving he belongs in the defensive tackle rotation in the fall.

"It's all about the legs and pad level at my position,'' said the 6-foot-2, 270-pound LeGrand, who also added eight pounds since the end of the season. "With the squat and clean getting off the ball, and the bench with being able to get (the offensive linemen) off me, that's where it works because they're 300-plus pound lineman coming at you with force, so being able to push them off you, that's where it helps.''

LeGrand noticed the difference immediately.

"You realize it in the middle of a play, ‘Oh, I got him.' ‘' LeGrand said. "That's when you realize when you jerk them up real fast that you got them on that play. You go onto the next play and work on your technique.''

Barbieri injured
Rutgers center Howard Barbieri spent the second half of practice as a spectator after injuring his left knee. Schiano said he was uncertain about the extent of the injury, and more should be known by Wednesday.

In Barbieri's place, Caleb Ruch moved to center. But the depth of the position will need to be settle.

Extra points
Marcus Cooper was moved from receiver to cornerback. …At practice were Rutgers signed receivers JT Tartacoff and Jawaun Wynn …Class of 2011 recruits Connor Wujciak (Seton Hall Prep), Shane Mertz (Raritan) and Daryl Stephenson (Sayreville) were in attendance.


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