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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Rutgers' Delon Stephenson could spend another season between positions

(AP photo)
By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

Delon Stephenson isn't listed on Rutgers' preseason depth chart. But will there be times when he lines up in the slot?

The coaching staff has already entertained it.

"Even now we have discussions about, ‘OK, we’re playing him at safety, but are there going to be certain situations where we want to bring him down and play him at corner?’" head coach Kyle Flood said after Saturday's training camp practice. "He has a skill set that allows him to do that."

For his part, Stephenson said he doesn't mind playing nickel, widely considered one of the toughest positions on defense.

“I just like to be out there in the competition just playing," Stephenson said. "That’s the fun part about it. Regardless of where I am, I’m just going to try to have fun out there.”

Stephenson said defensive coordinator Joe Rossi, also his position coach, wants his safeties to understand both positions. They are not responsible for one side of the field.

“We’re not just free safeties or strong safeties," Stephenson said. "Whoever gets hurt, the next best safety’s going to play. Those are Rossi’s words.

We’re interchangeable. He just wants me to learn free, but I try to learn both just in case the time comes where he needs me to play strong.”

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