Rutgers defensive issues take hit again with Nadir Barnwell's suspension
By Tyler Barto
Nadir Barnwell's one-game suspension for violation of team rules Sunday leaves Rutgers with only two cornerbacks who have played significantly this season.
In less than three weeks, the Scarlet Knights have lost four defensive backs.
Safety Lorenzo Waters left Saturday's loss to Houston with a high-ankle sprain. Corner Lew Toler broke his arm Oct. 10 at Louisville, and redshirt freshman Ian Thomas left the program days later.
Barnwell's suspension, meanwhile, is Rutgers' second this season for a violation of team rules. Defensive tackle Kenneth Kirksey received a one-game suspension earlier in the season. The two penalties are the most public admissions of fault in recent memory.
Barnwell's absence means true freshman Delon Stephenson and perhaps redshirt freshman Jevon Tyree will play extended snaps Saturday against Temple, which scored 49 points last weekend in a loss at SMU.
Large-scale struggles persist for Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova
Stephenson was a safety earlier this season. Tyree has never cracked the team's two-deep.
Larger defensive issues remain. Rutgers rotated five linebackers, perceived as a team strength, against Houston. Its defensive line, with three senior starters, failed to muster much pressure on Houston quarterback John O'Korn.
David Milewski, a linebacker-turned-defensive-end, is now being asked to play inside at the three-technique, the second most physically demanding position on defense.
It's unclear if any of Rutgers' defensive issues can be resolved at this point.