Tuesday, November 03, 2015

UConn's Rutherford learning on the job at fullback

It has kind of been an all hands on deck approach at the fullback or h-back positions this season.

Tailbacks Max DeLorenzo and Josh Marriner (more on him later this week) got the first chance to play those positions. More recently, tight ends Tommy Myers, Alec Bloom and Dallas Parker were called upon to add some physicality to the UConn backfield. Then came a real surprise this week when offensive lineman Trey Rutherford lined up as a fullback for a few plays in a 31-13 win over East Carolina.

I caught up with Rutherford after Tuesday's practice because I was curious if he had been a fullback at any point in his football career before Friday night.

“Never,” Rutherford said with a laugh.
Something tells me that his snap count at fullback will only increase during the final three games of the regular season.

So how did all of this come to be?

“Coach (Frank Verducci, the Huskies’ offensive coordinator) called me into his office and had me look at the board and asked me if I wanted to play fullback,’ Rutherford said. “I feel like I knew enough (of the offense). I am trying to be versatile and do what they want me to do.”
On the surface it would seem like an offensive lineman’s dream to get a running start to bury an opposing linebacker or defensive back.
“It is a lot of fun but you have to remember to stay under control,” Rutherford said.
Rutherford has been mostly a tackle during practice. With the other second-string tackle on the two-deep chart being true freshman Matt Peart, who is going to sit out the season as a redshirt barring any unforeseen circumstances there was plenty of pressure on Rutherford to be ready if anything happened to starting tackles Andreas Knappe or Richard Levy. Then, the week of the Cincinnati game Rutherford flip flopped from tackle to guard with Kyle Bockeloh and did see some snaps in place of senior Tyler Samra.
Samra and his veteran linemen have been impressed by the way the studious Rutherford approaches things in the film room, in team meetings and on the practice field.
“He is a hard worker, he is blue collar, hard-nosed (player),” Samra said. “Having him at fullback is a great advantage for us and it is something special having another lineman out there.”


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