Blogs > Rutgers Rundown

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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On eve of wedding, Jamal Merrell prepares for another new role: pass rusher

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: Tyler_Barto

PISCATAWAY — Expect Jamal Merrell to inherit Steve Beauharnais' role as an edge rusher on third downs this season.

The fifth-year senior is gearing up as a pass rusher after primarily serving in pass coverage the last two seasons. 

"I feel as though that's one of my strong suits that I haven't really been able to show in the games," Merrell said Wednesday. "Last year Steve played in front of me. I feel as though this year I'll be able to show my pass-rushing skills."
Jamal Merrell is working on becoming a third-down edge rusher. He's
also getting married Saturday. (Tyler Barto/ file photo)

In some formations a year ago, Beauharnais lined up in a two-point stance in the 'C' gap — outside shoulder of a tackle — with three down linemen. Within the dime package, Khaseem Greene was a lone linebacker in 2012 with six defensive backs as Beauharnais rushed.

Personnel groupings and alignment are subject to change each year.

"I'm looking forward to it because on third down you want to stay on the field," Merrell said. "You always want to be a part of big plays. You always want to be able to rush the quarterback. Third down is a big emphasis here."

At strongside linebacker, Merrell was seldom responsible for blitzing. He often played over the top on a tight end or slot 'Y' receiver.

He continues to work with twin brother Jamil Merrell, a defensive end, before practice and in their residence hall. They watch pass-rushing DVDs, practice explosive first steps and work on hand-motion drills.

"I try to not pinpoint one part of my game," Jamal Merrell said. "I try to focus on everything every day."

On a personal note, Jamal Merrell is getting married Saturday to Alicia Pike, whom he met as a senior in high school, in his native Delaware. The couple has a daughter, Aslyn.

He doesn't figure to be present at the team's Saturday night scrimmage at High Point Solutions Stadium.

"It's a little bit unique, but it's something that's important to Jamal and his family," head coach Kyle Flood said. "I know it's something that's certainly going to be important to his daughter someday. I'm totally supportive of it. ... The next time I see him he'll have to take his wedding ring off to come to practice. I'll teach him how to do that even though I get to wear mine."

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home