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Joe Harasymiak discusses the key to defense taking next step



Nov 19, 2022; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive lineman Wesley Bailey (23) sacks Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) during the first half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive coordinator Joe Harasymiak met with the media following the third practice of spring camp for Rutgers football on Saturday. After the defense shows improvement in his first year in charge, there is hope for another step forward next season. He covered a variety of topics regarding the defense.

Asked what the key was to taking the next step after making progress as a defense last season, Harasymiak was clear.

“Consistency. Last year we flashed at times, especially early on in the year,” Harasymiak said. “And then you get into the Big Ten, and you’ve got to be more consistent. I think getting those guys (returning contributors)back another year under the defense, learn the communication. I think that’s the one thing that’s impressed me the most so far. Myself and coach Schiano were just discussing the overall communication level from the walkthroughs, to practice, it’s been really good.”

Having a lot of retuning players back who have been big contributors in the past should help the defense reach another level this season as well.

“We talk about leadership leading here,” Harasymiak said. “Guys like Mo Toure, Tyreem Powell, Deion Jennings, Mayan Ahanotou, those guys have played pretty much or more than 1,000 snaps. Those guys are kind of like your second-level coaches.”

Adding Mo Toure back into the mix after missing last season due to injury will only help as well. The linebacker is versatile and has excelled as an edge rusher previously. Harasymiak touched on how they plan to use him for the coming season.

“Mo is an unbelievable player. He led the team in sacks prior to getting injured for two years,” Harasymiak said. “Our job as coaches is to put him in places where he can use his ability. We’ll move him around. He’s doing a great job.”

Other topics that Harasymiak discussed included getting comfortable with play calling, the adjustment in coaching in the Big Ten East with so many attacking offenses, the importance of continuity with the defensive coaching staff, generating more of a pass rush, Tyreem Powell’s development and more.

You can watch Harasymiak’s full interview here.

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  1. thevinman

    April 2, 2023 at 3:26 pm

    I sure hope our defense gets even better this year because it will almost certainly have to carry the team.

  2. pj43

    April 3, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    If Rutgers can avoid the injury bug, there appears to be reason for genuine optimism regarding the defense. Apparently the DC feels that there’s the talent & depth needed to compete at the Big Ten level. If the defense can avoid wearing out down the stretch and the offense can make steady progress, perhaps a 5 win season is realistic and 6 wins is a realistic ceiling. I’m aware that’s a lot of “ifs” but it’s Spring!

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