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Can the running backs bring explosiveness to the Rutgers offense?



running backs
Kyle Monangai is back for Rutgers and could play a big role this season. Photo credit Rutgers Athletics

A big key for the Rutgers offense to take a step forward this season that hasn’t been given as much attention is the potential for explosive play out the backfield. Running backs is arguably the deepest position group and the offense needs them to play a major fact this fall.

Sam Brown is back after a foot injury that ended his season last October. After a promising freshman campaign, how quickly Brown can get going is obviously a huge key. His potential to control the game with his hard running style is a skill set that Rutgers desperately needs.

Kyle Monangai has had some big moments before and should have opportunities once again this season to be a factor. He doesn’t have breakaway speed, but it will be interesting to see how new offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca utilizes him.

Head coach Greg Schiano praised Aaron Young after the second scrimmage on Saturday.

“He is getting back to his old self,” Schiano said. “He has done some good things. Her is a valuable player because he’s gotten a lot of Big Ten reps. He is an experienced player so I think he is going to fill a lot of different roles—running back, third-down back, special teams and a myriad of those. It’s good to have grown men.”

Young’s ability to make plays in the passing game is another skill set that Rutgers needs to be showcased this season.

The x-factor in the backfield is Al Shadee-Salaam and his elite speed. He does have natural explosiveness but whether that can be harnessed on the field this season remains to be seen.

Listen and watch to the third of ten positional previews regarding the running backs for Rutgers football below. Joining me for all of these upcoming episodes is football writer and Rutgers fan David Anderson.

Previous positional previews: Offensive Line; Defensive Line



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  1. Henry Rutgers

    August 22, 2023 at 8:45 am

    I’m glad you addressed the gap in press coverage. So little has been said about the running backs that it has become the source of rumor and speculation (mostly around injuries). Unlike most years, I did not make arrangements to take my Dad over to watch a practice. I am, however, hearing very good things, with no indications of injuries, about the running backs. If the offensive line can keep them from getting tackled as they receive the ball and give them a crease to operate with, we have part of the solution. If, however, all we have is the running backs then our opponents will stack the line and dare us to throw. The running back you didn’t mention in the article but probably addressed in the podcast is Wimsatt. With his size and speed, he may prove to be a crucial member of the running back core as the season progresses.

  2. thevinman

    August 26, 2023 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks guys. I sure hope Brown is healthy and that Monangai and Shadee-Salaam show some improvements this year. A lot will depend on how much Wimsatt has improved so that we can keep the dense honest. Brown was amazing in his ability to gain yards when it looked like nothing was there. I am a bit worried about Monangai and Shadee-Salaam as both seem to be taken down way to easy, at least later in the year. Perhaps that was due to nagging injuries.

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