Quentin Gause sees modest uptick as Rutgers' run 'D' struggles
PISCATAWAY — Two-plus weeks ago, Quentin Gause was third on the team in tackles and led Rutgers' linebackers with five tackles for loss.
After consecutive losses to Ohio State and Nebraska in which Rutgers' numbers against the run plummeted, few players have seen a dramatic uptick in game-changing plays, though Gause is now No. 2 in tackles behind Steve Longa.
"There have been some ups and downs, but I focus on improving each week," Gause said Monday. "I meet with (linebackers) coach (Bob) Fraser every week, and I meet with coaches all the time. I keep improving and seeing what I have to do, and I watch film. I spend so much time in this building."
Indeed, teammates credit Gause's preparation as one of his greatest attributes. Gause started one game last year and proved more than capable against the run, but now he's playing more in space as Rutgers' base defense remains on the field against three-receiver looks.
"Quentin is a guy with a really high motor, prepares probably better than most people on this team," Longa said. "He wants to get better. He loves the game of football. Him coming in this year and doing these things, it's really not surprising because we knew it was coming."
Still, against two of the nation's more effective run games, Rutgers has fallen to No. 82 in the FBS. In a gap-control scheme, its linebackers have often found offensive linemen waiting for them at the second level.
"We love to stop the run," Gause said. "Just because it didn't show the last couple of weeks, we're going to focus on preparing. The details are going to be critical this week."