Rutgers round up: a surprising move at CB

JUST TWO WEEKS remain before Washington State kicks off its 2014 football campaign against Rutgers. The Scarlett Knights were enjoying a fairly healthy fall football camp until a couple days ago when the status quo at cornerback was shaken up mightily. And Rutgers’ response to the injury should capture every Coug fan’s attention.

It also should have WSU's wide receiver corps smacking hands together in anticipation.

Rutgers freshman Dre Boggs had worked his way into a starting job at corner but is now out indefinitely with what called a lower-body injury.

Sophomore Nadir Barnwell would likely be next in line to start but his status is unknown for the Aug. 28 game in Seattle *7:30 pm, Fox Sports 1).

There are another six possible subs on the roster, seemingly enough to absorb the loss of Boggs.

But get this: The Rutgers coaching staff responded swiftly to Boggs’ injury by moving the team's second-leading running back to cornerback.

Justin Goodwin rushed for 521 yards last season but he’ll now be tasked with stopping WSU from gaining yards, though Rutgers coach Kyle Flood left the door open for a return to running back. Flood did something similar last year toward the end of the season, moving a wide receiver to corner in the face of injuries.

Despite universal projections that Rutgers will finish last in the seven-team Big Ten east division, Flood has been sunny with the media since camp opened. But there’s no camouflaging how thin the Knights are on the corner, and this latest move illustrates just how thin.

WSU AND RUTGERS BEAR A SIMILARITY AT quarterbacks. The two teams each have a veteran, senior starter but no backups who have taken a college snap.

Chris Laviano was named this week as the football team’s No. 2 quarterback behind senior Gary Nova. The Cougs will counter with Connor Halliday and Luke Falk.

There’s optimism surrounding Nova as he enters his final campaign and some of that is due to new offensive coorindator Ralph Friedgen, the former Maryland head coach. Friedgen, who also was once the OC of the San Diego Chargers, identified a flaw in Nova's delivery and has worked to get him throwing with his heel planted on the ground. Decision making, though, appeared to be Nova's biggest issue in 2013 and led to his benching.

Rutgers held a pair of scrimmages in recent days, with Flood saying that they yielded no earth-shattering changes to the two-deeps (apart from Boggs’ injury.)

Some recent top performers according to are: Wide receiver John Tsimis who has been a human vacuum cleaner for footballs thrown in his direction, WR Andre Patton who like Tsimis is making a run at a starting job and DE David Milewski, finally healthy and making life difficult on the Rutgers o-line.


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