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An in-depth preview of the Rutgers defense

After and opening week victory over Norfolk State, it's time to analyze what we saw in base formations and personell groups from the defense.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Focal Point

My goal was to watch film from Norfolk State and see the how the defense lined up. I was able to do that to some degree, but the uniform numbers are so damn difficult to read. That should explain if I get any players wrong. Now on to the analysis

3-4 Defense

First things first: Joe Rossi does not run a 4-3 defense. He runs a multiple defense that can be traced back to a 4-3 but lines up as a 3-4. The skillset of the defensive line plays a huge role in determining what type of defense to run. Rutgers did not have a real NT last year so that severely limited what they could do. In my opinion, they should've played two 3-techniques on the interior and had Kemoko Turay and Djwany Mera on the outside. Turay was not ready to start on the outside last year, but he could've picked it up pretty fast as a backup. In this play, there are 3 down lineman, and 2 edge rushers standing up. Quentin Gause is on the outside, playing as a QB spy.

As soon as he saw the QB roll out, he made his move and sacked him. Notice Kaiwan Lewis and Steve Longa playing as the 2 MLBs on the play. Longa and Lewis are both very accomplished MLBs which makes this formation very strong.

X's and O's

Take a look at the setup from the Eagles 3-4 defense

It is pretty obvious that this is the same exact setup as Rutgers. Quentin Gause and Kemoko Turay are essentially pass rushing linebackers. In a true 3-4, one linebacker will rush and one will drop back. Obviously Turay's job is to rush, but Gause certainly is a threat to rush. Darius Hamilton/JPO and Djwany Mera essentially play 3-4 defensive end, which is a lot like 3-technique, involving setting the edge for the run and shedding blocks for tackles. Sebastian Joseph plays a true nose tackle and will eat up space and draw double teams.

Check out two other plays from the game when they ran their base defense.

The Wrinkles


I am not sure what is going on in this play but it is awesome. Pressure comes from everywhere, and not many B1G QBs would be able to escape outside the pocket. However, Andre Hunt came on a delay and made the play on the dual-threat. Expect many complex blitzes from Joe Rossi and the Rutgers defense.

The Personnel

These three players are the most important on defense for the Scarlet Knights this year.

Quentin Gause

This is going to come as a shocker, but Quentin Gause is probably the best player on the defense. It is absolutely incredible to see what he does on every play. He can line up as a pass-rush OLB or split out into a coverage LB and he flies sideline to sideline to never give up on a play. He is the perfect SAM due to his versatility. He is also the most valuable player on the defense due to the lack of depth behind him.

Kemoko Turay

We didn't get to see much of him on Saturday, but he notched a sack and was clearly too good for the competition. He should play a little bit more against Wazzu, but will still be limited due to injury. In this defense, he plays as a stand up rusher opposite Quentin Gause. He rushes or sets the edge, depending if it is a run play or a pass play. If he proves to be a more complete player, he will be something else, regardless of competition.

Darius Hamilton

Although listed as a defensive tackle, Hamilton will play outside the nose tackle, making him a defensive end. He will draw double teams on his own, which will free up other members of the D-line to get loose in the backfield. He is fast enough to pass rush and there is just about nothing he can't do on defense.

My Predictions

These are my picks on who will lead Rutgers in major defensive statistics


1. Quentin Gause

2. Steve Longa

3. Kaiwan Lewis

4. Anthony Cioffi

5. Kiy Hester


1. Kemoko Turay

2. Quentin Gause

3. Quanzell Lambert

4. Darius Hamilton

5. Julian Pinnix-Odrick


1. Anthony Cioffi

2. Blessaun Austin

3. Davon Jacobs

4. Isaiah Wharton

5. Kaiwan Lewis

Check out my In-Depth Offensive Preview as well!