Notes: Kick returns, safeties and transfers

Rutgers S Joe Lefeged

Rutgers travels to Connecticut for a pivotal Halloween day contest, and special teams could play an integral part. Rutgers KR Joe Lefeged talks about why the Scarlet Knights have been better in that facet lately, and defensive tackle Blair Bines talks about one of his most memorable moments of his career. Also, there is some news about two transfers, and an injury report.

Had Joe Lefeged cut right instead off left, the chances of Army placekicker Alex Carlton making a touchdown-saving tackle would have dropped dramatically.

That is what Lefeged, a safety and Rutgers' leading kick returner, saw after watching film of his 36-yard return last week.

But he said it was the work done in the meeting and film rooms leading up to the game that made the play possible, and added a concerted effort was made to spend more time preparing off the field so the Scarlet Knights' kick return game would be better on the field.

"I would have to say the off field preparation is the biggest change,'' Lefeged said. "It helps out a lot. You get a little more of a mental edge. Between being a great special teams team and an average special teams team, the difference is not a lot.

"We figured it out that better off field preparation is going to make us a better team.''

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said he was pleased with how the Scarlet Knights special teams are performing lately despite ranking last in the Big East at 18.9 yards per kickoff return.

"We know what we want to do, we're committed to doing it, the kids understand it,'' Schiano said. "We're just very close on a number of them. And the way, statistically, it goes, you hit a couple of big returns and all of a sudden your stats are good.''

And those stats would have increased had Lefeged went right instead of back into the middle of the field, which he heard plenty about over the next few days.

"People at home were calling me and telling me, ‘Hey, if you ran to the right to the sideline, you would have had the whole sideline.' I should have gone to the right, but for some reason I felt coverage to my right. I thought someone was to the outside.

"But going back and watching the film, there was nobody there. I should have gone to the outside. We gave the offense the ball in good field position, so that was really good.''

Remembering the best
Rutgers defensive tackle Blair Bines made the decisive play in last year's 12-10 defeat of Connecticut when he tackled running back Donald Brown for safety in the third quarter. It also propelled the Scarlet Knights on a seven-game winning streak.

"It was probably one of the best moments of my college career,'' said Bines, who added a special teams hit against Howard in 2006 ranked high as well. "The ball was snapped and I went unblocked to the ball.''

Tracking transfers
Boston College quarterback Justin Tuggle, the son of former NFLer Jessie, and Eagles running back Josh Haden both plan on transferring, and sources said Rutgers would take a look at both of them.

However, before any school can be in contact with either of the players, that school must receive a release from Boston College granting permission to do so.

Injury report
Schiano said offensive guard Desmond Wynn (shoulder) is "doing better'' and "hopefully, he can play'' against the Huskies. …Offensive guard Caleb Ruch (ankle) practiced the last two days and may be available, Schiano said.

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