Rutgers' Ruhann Peele to play more early downs at corner against Cincinnati
By Tyler Barto
PISCATAWAY — An injury — what else? — will lead Ruhann Peele to playing his most extensive snaps to date Saturday at cornerback against Cincinnati.
Peele, a wide receiver, will play more on first and second down along with his pressure role in Rutgers' subpackages thanks to Delon Stephenson's sprained ankle, head coach Kyle Flood said Wednesday.
Stephenson, a true freshman, started his first career game Nov. 2 against Temple. It is the latest setback in a series of events that has left Rutgers without five defensive backs at different points this season.
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"He's a limited in what he can do," Flood said of Stephenson, who suffered the injury Tuesday. "He couldn't go today. So that cleans it up from that perspective."
|Rutgers' Ruhann Peele sacks Temple quarterback P.J. Walker on Nov. 2 Peele will be asked to do more than provide pressure in an expanded role at corner. (AP photo)|
Peele is more than two weeks into his hurried study of corner. He is running a significant portion of Rutgers' defense, Flood said, not only a few responsibilities on obvious passing downs.
There will be no more vanilla coverages or exclusive blitzes, although Rutgers will try to put Peele in situations in which he is comfortable.
It could be a sign Rutgers is taking a significant look at keeping Peele, Rutgers' fifth-leading receiver, at corner full-time. A strong showing in the next two games wouldn't hurt the argument.
Peele recorded a sack and forced and recovered a fumble in his first outing against Temple. Rutgers' staff will now keep tabs on his mental acumen in comprehending its defensive playbook.