Rutgers will be without arguably its best defensive player for the rest of the season as junior Blessuan Austin is out with a torn ACL. Head coach Chris Ash made that news public during today’s press conference.
"It was confirmed yesterday with an MRI that he has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season," Ash said of Austin.
"[It is an] opportunity for Damon Hayes to step up and be the full-time starter. He played in place of Blessuan and did some good things," Ash said. "Got to continue to improve and develop but really like Damon. Excited for him to go out and have this opportunity being a full-time starter.
The staff will turn to some younger players to provide depth now that Austin is out for the year.
"We've got to look at who our backup guys are going to be," Ash said. "We had Zane Campbell at corner earlier in the year. We'll move him back. We'll look also at Edwin Lopez, a true freshman and Kobe Marfo has been taking some reps.So between those three guys, you know, we're going to have to find our depth out of those three guys at the corner position.
Without Austin and a rigorous Big Ten schedule looming, Ash mentioned that there is cause for concern in the defensive backfield.
"It's a concern," Ash said. "There's no doubt about it. It's been a concern. We felt like going into the year that if we could stay healthy like we did last year that we would be fine if we got an injury. We're on pretty thin ice and that's where we're at."