Blogs > Rutgers Rundown

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

Monday, September 16, 2013

FILM STUDY: Paul James' role in Quron Pratt's return touchdown against Eastern Michigan

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

Head coach Kyle Flood said Sunday that the team's best players will play special teams, regardless of position. Paul James, Rutgers' most indispensable piece with quarterback Gary Nova concussed, is no exception.

James, the nation's leading rusher through three weeks, plays an active role on Rutgers' kickoff return team. He figures he is either first or second string in each of the team's special teams units.

Here's a look at James' role on the Scarlet Knights' most successful special teams play Saturday against Eastern Michigan:
(Courtesy of
James lines up as a left guard on Rutgers' first kickoff return of the game. Four players comprise Rutgers first return layer, followed by two, two, one and its two returners, Janarion Grant and Quron Pratt.
(Courtesy of
Rutgers' blocking layers collapse on the kickoff, which ends up being directional toward the right end zone. James and the left side of the Knights' return unit flow right, with a specific blocking assignment in mind.

IN PRINT: Chas Dodd is Rutgers' contingency plan with Gary Nova concussed
(Courtesy of
Pratt eludes the first layer of Eastern Michigan's kickoff unit, with help from Rutgers' wedge. "Coaches do a great job of breaking down film, breaking down the opposite team's kickoff coverage," Pratt said Monday. "(We are) executing on our blocks and just hitting the holes that are going to open up for us and just trusting what coaches taught us in practice and in the meeting rooms."
(Courtesy of

James engages one of the final Eastern Michigan defenders as Pratt cuts through a hole. James seals the edge. "It was coming back and I saw my guy trailing behind this bunch of people. I was waiting for him," James said Monday. "I didn't know where Quron was. He was behind me. As the guy came out, I gave him a little hit and Quron went right by me, just flew by. He was the last guy he had to beat."

MORE: Jamil Merrell's return boosts Rutgers' defensive line
(Courtesy of

Pratt evades James' block responsibility, returning his first career kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, Rutgers' second of the season. He became the fifth Rutgers player since 2009 to do so. 

Pratt said special teams coordinator Joe Rossi's philosophies are the same as Robb Smith, his predecessor, but he notices subtle tweaks to the formula. 

James, for his part, enjoys playing special teams, even if injuries risk his role on offense.

"I try to stay on there because special teams are a big part of this team," he said. "They separate the drive starts from other teams. If I can be on special teams, I try to contribute any way I can to maybe give the defense better position."

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home