With the 2011 spring football just around the corner, Coach Schiano in his annual spring address announced several position changes that will be made in advance of next season. Position changes are typically announced and implemented during the spring in order for the player to have as much practice time possible in their new position. This way, the player is able to gain valuable practice time both in the spring as well as during the preseason training camp in August.
Below are the changes:
- Jordan Thomas will switch from running back to cornerback.
- Jeremy Deering will switch from wide receiver to running back.
- Joe Martinek will switch from running back to fullback.
- Aaron Hayward will switch from wide receiver to running back.
- Marcus Thompson will switch from defensive end/linebacker to fullback.
- Mason Robinson will switch from wide receiver to cornerback.
- Jawaun Wynn will switch from wide receiver to safety.
- Rashad Knight will switch from cornerback to safety.
- David Rowe will switch from cornerback to safety.
- Khaseem Greene will switch from safety to weakside linebacker.
- Manny Abreu will switch from strongside linebacker to defensive end.
- Steve Beauharnais will switch from middle linebacker to strongside linebacker.
- Ka’lil Glaud will switch from weakside linebacker to middle linebacker.
- Anthony LaLota will move from defensive end to defensive tackle/nose tackle.
In describing his main reason for many of the changes, Coach Schiano cited a need to increase the overall team speed, particularly on defense, as a reason why the various changes were made. Khaseem Greene’s move to linebacker and Manny Abreu’s move to defensive end surely are two moves that will help increase the speed on the field. Greene in particular will drastically help against the many spread offenses that Rutgers will see during the season. With regards to the defensive backfield, I believe both David Rowe as well as Rashad Knight’s move to the safety position demonstrates the coaching staff’s faith in Logan Ryan, Marcus Cooper, and redshirt freshman Gareef Glashen. Furthermore, Jordan Thomas, the team’s leading rusher possesses tremendous speed, which should translate well to the cornerback position. Finally, I am happy to see that Steve Beauharnais, a natural playmaker, will once again have the opportunity to play in space. I felt that as a middle linebacker Beauharnais was too often stuck in traffic and not allowed to display his playmaking ability which is predicated upon great quickness.
The switches on the offensive side of the ball would appear to pave the way for heralded recruit Savon Huggins to step in right away and start from Day 1. I believe Jeremy Deering is a fine player and a tremendous athlete, but I think his frame is too small to take the pounding that a running back typically takes. On the other hand, I am pleased to see Aaron Hayward receive a shot as a running back. I always felt that Hayward was not suited to be a college-level wide receiver and instead could be a nice change of pace/3rd down back for the Scarlet Knights. I am also glad to see that the coaching staff with the arrival of Frank Cignetti will now once again place an emphasis on the fullback position. Mirroring the two-back system employed by Cignetti during his time at Pitt, both Martinek and Thompson are very talented and should help retool this struggling unit.