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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Leonte Carroo, Rutgers await sophomore's first role in game plan

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

Despite enjoying arguably Rutgers' best individual performance during training camp, not even Leonte Carroo knows how he'll be used in the team's offense.

That figures to change when Rutgers installs its first game plan of the season this week in preparation for its Aug. 29 season opener at Fresno State.

"I guess from there I'll see, 'Hey, Carroo, this is what you're going to be helping us out.' I'm fine with that," Carroo said Monday. "Anything my coaches need me to do offensively I'm willing to do."

That includes making plays in traffic, which Carroo flashed throughout Rutgers' 19-day training camp. The sophomore seldom lost one-on-one matchups with cornerbacks, keeping space between defenders and the ball.

"There are a lot of things a wide receiver can do that usually a ref can't see," Carroo said of shielding defenders. "You can keep your arm low and separate yourself a little bit ... so it's not obvious for pass interference."

MORE: Rutgers players recap defining training camp moments

His 200-pound frame helps. Carroo arrived in Piscataway already physically built, which landed him on a largely special teams role in 2012. 

It could offer Rutgers an advantage in traffic around the goal line, but Carroo insists offensive coordinator Ron Prince's plan will be to run first in the red zone.

"The running game will definitely open up our passing game down there," he said. "We plan on hitting the holes hard, everybody blocking and then opening it up outside."

Carroo has shown a penchant for doing so, stretching the field vertically for underneath receivers. Should he work in tandem with top returner Brandon Coleman, intermediate and checkdown routes figure to have space to maneuver.

RELATED: Tracking Brandon Coleman's rehab progress

Carroo, meanwhile, has other intentions.

"I always tell our offensive linemen that this year there are going to be a lot of short drives," he said, "because I'm going to catch a lot of balls and I'm going to take them to the house."


On nonverbal cues with quarterback Gary Nova, a high school teammate"It's not really nonverbal things. Me and Gary, we talk about it a lot. We watch a lot of film together. If he sees something on film that he probably doesn't like that I did, he knows the type of player that I am that he can correct it. He usually texts me about it or talks to me about it and says, 'Hey, on that route do this,' and then we'll try to fix it in practice."

On making plays in condensed windows"I just always had a saying ever since I was little. My mom always gave me the saying that whenever the ball's in the air, everyone's invisible. If I'm going across the middle or I see the ball in the air and I know there are defenders around me, I like to pretend that no one else is around me. All I see is the ball. I know going across the middle like today that I'm going to get hit anyway, so I might as well catch it. If I get hit, I get hit. Just hold on to the ball and stay with it."

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