Rutgers 2014 Spring Game Defensive Notes:
Final: White 21 Scarlet 0
Entering the 2014, head coach Kyle Flood will be hoping that the defense can rise to the occasion and lead the way as the team makes the transition to the Big 10. Last season, the Rutgers defense wore down late in the year and had problems against the pass. The secondary allowed 312 passing yards per game in 2013 and in order for the Scarlet Knights to make a run at the top of the conference, that number needs to improve in 2014.
Saturday’s spring game saw a White defense shut down the Scarlet offense all afternoon. Led by junior defensive lineman Darius Hamilton (4 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss) the White defense held the Scarlet offense to a total of 2 first downs and a total of 3 total yards for the game.
Defensive lineman Darius Hamilton led the White team with 4 total tackles and look quick at the point of attack. Hamilton has the size and speed to be one of the best lineman in the conference. Defensive lineman Julian Pinnix-Odrick showed great strength in closing running lanes and looked very solid on the afternoon. Pinnix-Odrick finished the game with one sack.
Scarlet defensive lineman Kemoko Turay was solid in rushing the passer with a solid effort on Saturday. Turay was able to create pressure and force three sacks on the afternoon. Turay finished with 4 total tackles (3 sacks) on the day.
Overall, the linebackers looked good on the day and as a unit could be one of the better linebacking groups in the conference.
The secondary has players that can play man to man coverage which will be a positive sign entering the 2014 season in the Big 10. If Rutgers can continue to build depth in the secondary, that will allow the defensive staff to utilize more blitz packages and create different looks to confuse opposing offensive lines.
Senior cornerback Gareef Glashen played very well on Saturday and will be the leader of the secondary entering the start of fall camp. Glashen finished with 2 total tackles and looked good in pass coverage.
Two players on the Scarlet team stood out defensively on Saturday. Redshirt freshman Nick Rafferty finished with 8 total tackles on the afternoon in leading the Scarlet defense in tackles. Freshman defensive back Kam Lott stepped up and played very well. Lott finished the day with 5 total tackles and 2 pass breakups.
Both players have solid upside potential and are players to keep your eye on in the future for Scarlet Knights.
In order for the Scarlet Knights to make a run in the conference this season, they must be able ot create turnovers. Last season, Rutgers was -12 in turnover margin. As a defense, the unit created 18 turnovers in 13 games or 1.3 turnovers per game. That number needs to grow if the Scarlet Knights are to have a successful 2014 campaign in the Big 10.
Joseph Lisi is a former ABC Sports college football researcher. He is the owner of www.NCAABLITZ.com and www.GOFORTHE2.COM. Joseph has contributed as a writer for www.Rantsports.com- You can follow him on YOUTUBE at: MRJAL2230 or on Twitter @Goforthe2
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