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Running backs group a strength for Rutgers



running backs
Photo credit Rutgers Athletics

Running backs coach Damiere Shaw spoke to the media following the 13th spring practice on Tuesday. Shaw is in his fourth season with the program but its his first coaching the backfield. He’s inherited arguably the most complete position group on the team. If this group can stay healthy, they’ll have the chance to be a real strength for the offense this coming season.

“I’ve been very pleased with the guys in the room and the guys who are practicing,” Shaw said. “They’re competing at a high level and there’s a mixture of different skill sets so we look to utilize everybody, whatever their skill set is.”

The Rutgers offense operated at a higher level last season once running back Samuel Brown became the primary option by midseason. Unfortunately, he suffered a season ending injury in late October and the offense suffered. Shaw spoke about his recovery and work being put in by Brown this spring.

“He’s been great,” Shaw said. “He’s a coach’s dream in terms of the work he puts in the, his willingness to learn his humility and his commitment to the game and his commitment to this team. (Brown) doing everything he can to get back, and I don’t know – that’s something that’s up to the trainers and doctors – about when he’ll be back, but he’s doing everything he can mentally to stay up to speed mentally with the install.”

Veteran Aaron Young is back and struggled with his own injury issues in the past. Last season, Young only played four games. He’s healthy now and has an opportunity to reach his full potential this fall.

“A ton of physicality,” Shaw said when asked what he’s seen from Young. “This guy is running like his hair is on fire. He’s playing violently. I talked about guys helping each other out. He’s been a leader in the room so off the field he’s taken a huge role in developing the younger guys, but he’s really really running hard right now.”

Kyle Monangai returns as well after leading Rutgers with 459 yards rushing on 4.1 yards per carry last season. So does speed back Al-Shadee Salaam who was third on the team in rushing behind Monangai and Brown. 2023 signee Ja’Shon Benjamin enrolled early and has been part of the position group this spring.

“We got a mixture of veteran guys and some guys who are still figuring it out, but they’re working really hard, working really hard on the practice field. So they’ve been a pleasure to coach. The good thing is you mentioned the competition and depth — they all help each other. There’s a healthy competition in the room.”

You can watch Shaw’s entire press conference below. The Scarlet-White Game is Saturday, April 29 at 3:00 p.m.

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  1. thevinman

    April 26, 2023 at 12:56 pm

    I sure hope Brown will be healthy because that kid can be a star, the best Rutgers RB since Ray Rice!

    • BataliBoli98

      April 27, 2023 at 7:54 pm

      I completely agree about Brown and to be fair to him Rice compiled his stats in the Big East with a superior OL. That’s not at all meant to be a knock on Ray who was awesome, but it does show the obstacles that Brown faces in the B1G East running behind a group of non-pros.

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