In an effort to bolster one of its linebacker positions, the RU coaching staff has made another position change. Senior Ross Douglas is transitioning from the safety spot to the strongside linebacker position.
“Ross Douglas moved up from the secondary to the SAM/Nickel position,” defensive coordinator Jay Niemann said following today’s practice. “So he has been with us at that spot for a couple of days now. He is off to a good start.”
Niemann also explained what went into that decision.
“There were a couple of things that factored into that. One is that he did it last year when we had all those injuries towards the tail end of the season. We had slid him into that SAM spot, so he had some reps there and he had some reps as a nickel[back], which has some similarities and carry over to the SAM position too. So that had something to do with it."
Niemann talked more on the attributes that could help Douglas thrive in that new role.
“He is really a very football savvy kid. He understands the game and is quick to pick up on things. And he gives us a little different skillset out there in terms of pass coverage that you don’t see in a typical linebacker. All of those things combined made sense for us to do that.”
Leading up to the start of spring practice, there was not much done along the lines of Douglas adding more weight to adjust to that role.
“Not really, just typically what he did in the offseason as a DB. That was because we didn’t make this decision until right before the first practice,” Niemann said.
Three practices into the spring and Douglas has already earned praise from his fellow linebackers.
"He is good, I am surprised by him moving to linebacker and being able to move and pick up stuff real fast," starting middle linebacker Deonte Roberts said today. "He just has a knack, he is always around the ball. He causes a lot of problems for offensive guys."
Douglas appeared in 10 games last year and made five tackles, although he was bothered by injuries after coming into Rutgers as a grad transfer from Michigan.