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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Kyle Flood reveals criteria, candidates for Rutgers' punt returner

Quron Pratt appears the most likely candidate to fulfill Kyle Flood's prerequisites at punt returner. (Tyler Barto)

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: Tyler_Barto

PISCATAWAY — Kyle Flood said Tuesday he will value dependability above all else in determining Rutgers' punt returner during training camp.

"That’s critical when you put that person back there," Flood said after the team's fifth practice. "I think we have to decide as we get closer to the game (Aug. 29) what are going to be the individual roles of people."

Wide receivers Quron Pratt, Miles Shuler and Janarion Grant figure to earn the bulk of the team's punt-return reps. Pratt, a fifth-year senior, fits Flood's description best.

Pratt is a safe option. Rutgers has a historically conservative punt-return philosophy, opting instead for aggressive blocking units. It averaged 4.7 yards per return in 2012, its worst in a six-year span.

"I've been doing it for years now, practicing, looking at (former punt returners) Mason Robinson and (Mohamed) Sanu earlier," Pratt said Tuesday.

IN PRINT: QB Gary Nova appears more demonstrative

Flood said senior Jeremy Deering will again assume kick-return duties. Shuler will pair with him. Grant and Pratt could serve as backups.

"You don’t want any one person to have do everything unless you don’t have an option," Flood said. "I don’t think that’s the case for us."

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