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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rutgers mailbag: Season predictions, position battles, fantasy football?

(AP photo)
By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

Welcome back to the Rutgers mailbag. Last week we covered the Ralph Friedgen-Kyle Flood dynamic, Janarion Grant's role and more.

As always, you can tweet questions to me at @Tyler_Barto or email

Well, Jim, I've never been big on making game-by-game predictions, partly because there is so much that can happen between now and then. But let's start here and set a baseline at 6-6. 

If Rutgers finishes higher, it's likely that new coordinator Joe Rossi has maximized his parts, specifically in a same-look secondary. If Rutgers ends 2014 sub-.500, always look at turnover differential. It might be the most glaring stat in football.
It's like you read Kyle Flood's mind, Jay. Flood said Monday night that he'd start Delon Stephenson there if the season began then. It does not, but Stephenson's athleticism and growth — he wasn't even playing until midseason a year ago — are impressive.

That said, Johnathan Aiken will likely still play a lot, mostly in sub-packages and special teams, if the result holds. Funny, but Stephenson's versatility — playing the slot — might've hurt in the race at safety for the sheer fact that Rutgers needed — needs? — bodies at corner.

Speaking of which ...
Not sure where you saw that quote, but locating the ball is always an emphasis. Is it natural for several young corners thrust into a primarily spread-offense schedule like last year? Hardly.

I actually talked to Anthony Cioffi about that very subject in the spring, and he said once "in phase" a corner can lean and locate the ball. Especially when trying to make up ground — not to mention learning the position's finer points for the first time —  it's easier said than done.

@DavideSaintMary on Twitter asks, "Who would you take in the 10 spot in a .5 PPR league? #TBartoMailbox"

A fantasy football question, eh? In a 12-team league, you could do worse than tricking the guy who's picking at No. 9 out of his top target, then stealing his go-to guy on the snake. But don't take my word for it — I've never made the playoffs.

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