By Matt Sugam
PISCATAWAY – As Rutgers backup kickers battled for the potential starting spot this week, the injured Kyle Federico (lower leg) sat out of practice agin today. However, head coach Kyle Flood hasn’t ruled him out for the Syracuse game on Saturday.
The first-year head coach will go the unconventional route of watching his true freshman kick tomorrow.
“We usually wouldn’t do it, but because he hasn’t kicked all week we’ll test him a little bit tomorrow and see where he’s at and then set the depth chart tomorrow night when we get to the hotel,” Flood said. “I’m confident that whoever we have in there we’re going to ask them to do what they’ll capable of doing, so I think we’ll have success when we use them.”
While the potential backups success remains to be seen, the other units of Rutgers’ special teams does not. Rutgers is atop the conference in kickoff returns, while Syracuse is first in kickoff coverage.
“That’s a great matchup in the game and something that’s going to be critical to the drive start so I think in every game we want special teams to be our advantage. We spend a lot of time preparing for it, a lot of time in our practice schedule doing it,” Flood said, adding, “We see it every week as something that should help us win the game, not just something that should help us change field.”
Last season, it helped Rutgers win the game. A blocked field goal and extra point were the difference in their double overtime triumph.
“Blocked kicks certainly have a big affect on the game,” Flood said. “And we’re going to be aggressive trying to do that.”
Note: Fullback Sam Bergen (lower body) practiced all week and will be ready to play Saturday.