Many things went wrong for Rutgers last season on both sides of the ball.
After being his with the injury bug a bit, the Scarlet Knights seems to be entering spring healthy and on the right track. After the first day of practices, head coach Greg Schiano gave updates on some key players that were banged up last season.
Last spring, Mohamed Toure suffered a season-ending injury that required surgery. The Scarlet Knights lost their sack leader from the previous two years but will have him back.
When asked about what Schiano likes about having Toure back, his answer was simple — “Everything.”
“He was such a multi-dimensional player,” Schiano said. “It wasn’t only on defense and third down. He’s the best left guard in the country, I think, on punt team. He’s bigger, he’s stronger than he was. I’m really excited about getting Mo back. He was a huge loss.”
Toure was not the only defensive player out last season. Highly-touted freshman Moses Walker suffered a torn ACL last April, which caused him to miss the 2022 season. Both seem to be on the right track early on.
“Moses Walker and Mo are full go,” Schiano said. “Sam is working his way back in. I say they’re full go but they’re not 100%. They’re working their way back in but I’m encouraged there. Sam is getting better by the day. He’s taking a lot of mental reps and what we can enacting behind the scenes.”
Samuel Brown impressed early on but a foot injury shut him down after a 101-yard, one-touchdown performance against Indiana. This was a major blow to the offense and Rutgers will benefit from having its workhorse return in the backfield.
Finally, Schiano was asked about the status of Victor Konopka. The 6-foot-7 tight end caught one pass for 17 yards last season. He was injured before Big Ten play and shut down for the season. A bit of a forgotten weapon for Rutgers, Konopka remains a raw player that continues to improve.
With a new staff in place, it will be interesting to see if the big tight end is used this season.
“Victor was really coming on and then he disappears after the third game,” Schiano said. “It’s great to have him back. He’s a really big target out there and he’s getting better at the blocking. Victor didn’t play a lot of football before he came to Rutgers. I think he’s on that really steep incline of improvement.”
All signs point to Rutgers’ injuries from 2022 improving and trending in the right direction. The Scarlet Knights were hit hard last April and it is something to monitor moving forward.