Blogs > Rutgers Rundown

Devoted to the daily goings on with Rutgers football, both at High Point Solutions Stadium and behind the scenes.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kevin Snyder: 'I want to play weakside'

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: Tyler_Barto

PISCATAWAY — After practicing at each of the linebacker positions during spring practice in 2012 and doing much of the same this spring, Kevin Snyder says he's best suited for the weakside.

“I haven’t played much MIKE, but as of right now I think I fit pretty well at the WILL," Snyder, a junior, said Wednesday. "I think I’m good at the WILL, playing backside running things down.”

As Khaseem Greene demonstrated the last two seasons, the weakside spot is designed schematically to give free rein to the assigned player. Under Rutgers' system, the defensive line and middle linebacker occupy blocks — in loose terms — while the WILL plays along the edge.

It remains to be seen if coordinator Dave Cohen will start
Kevin Snyder, pictured, at WILL or MIKE. (AP Photo)
"It gives you more freedom to run around," Snyder said. "If you’re in a playmaking position, it makes it a little more fun.”

When he's seen the field, Snyder typically played along the strongside, like fifth-year senior Jamal Merrell, and served as a pass rusher.

His preference means, tentatively, redshirt freshman Steve Longa will likely begin training camp Aug. 2 in the middle. It'll be the first time in recent memory a freshman will do so.''

“I’ve seen, just in the way he mentally approaches the game, incremental improvements every day, Snyder said. "He really started to become comfortable running the defense."

It is one of many adjustments handed to new defensive coordinator Dave Cohen, who served as linebackers coach a year ago. The Scarlet Knights lose seven starters from their back seven in 2012, including Greene, a two-time Big East Defensive MVP, and three in the secondary.

Here's how Western Michigan fared in Cohen's last stint as a playcaller:

2011 — 12th in MAC in total defense, t-first in turnovers, third in sacks, fourth in TFLs
2010 — ninth in MAC in total defense, third in turnovers, third in sacks, fourth in TFLs
2009 — 12th in MAC in total defense, sixth in turnovers

It's difficult to assess Cohen's tenure based on his personnel and since the three-year tenure was his only one outside the Northeast. But his takeaway pedigree and penchant for game-changing plays suits Rutgers, which tied for ninth nationally last season with 32 turnovers forced.

Cohen doesn't have the same ties to former head coach Greg Schiano — Rutgers' defensive architect since he arrived in 2001 — that Robb Smith, last year's defensive coordinator did. Smith joined Schiano in Tampa Bay as a linebackers coach in the offseason.

“They haven’t really changed a lot, but I think with them it’s more about, ‘Don’t worry about the scheme as much.’ It’s making plays," Snyder said. "You know where you’re supposed to be. Be more loose and more free so you can go make plays for the defense instead of just trying to fit a scheme as much. I think that’d be more (Cohen).”

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home