By Brian Dohn
Rutgers senior receiver Tim Brown noticed it quickly. The safety was keeping an eye on him, and making sure quarterback Domenic Natale was going to have to thread a ball in to connect with Brown.
Indeed, Maryland’s defense was bracketing Brown, Rutgers’ big-play threat, making it hard for him to impact the game. He finished the game with one catch for nine yards.
So, it makes sense that Brown, who is averaging 23.9 yards on 15 catches, said it is key for freshman Mohamed Sanu to take on a bigger role in the offense as the season moves forward.
“I want Mohamed to take advantage of that,’’ Brown said. “If they’re bracketing me, then it’s one-on-one for him. I need him to take advantage of that, and the run game to pop out and make big runs so guys can’t play me like that.’’
Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano is craving a third receiver to step up and join the fray to take some of the pressure off Brown and Sanu. The two have combined for 31 of the 32 catches from Rutgers’ wide receivers. And with Rutgers off this week, the auditions will be a main focus of practice.
“That’s what the bye is for, to work on stuff like that and get better,’’ Brown said. “Somebody has to step up and make big plays. Not just me, and it’s going to come. I know it’s going to come.’’
One option could have been long-snapper Andrew DePaola, but his value as a specialist is likely to keep him on the sideline when the offense is on the field. It means the next few days of practice could serve as a pivotal proving ground for everyone else.
Injury report: Schiano said defensive end George Johnson (ankle) status remains uncertain. Neither he nor quarterback Tom Savage (head injury) practiced, and Schiano said he was unsure when Savage would return.