Civil plays all over o-line after position change


Knight Notebook


When Andre Civil came to Rutgers in 2009, then-offensive line coach Kyle Flood aided him in football and adjusting to life in Piscataway.

“Coach Flood helped me out a lot,” Civil said post-practice Tuesday. “First with adjusting to being a city kid to moving to New Jersey, he helped me out a lot with that. He helped me out a lot on the field, moving from defense to offense. He’s just been a person I look up to as far as teaching you how to fight through everything.”

Civil said he adjusted to how much more car-oriented the Rutgers area is than his native Brooklyn. He also had to acclimate to the switch from defensive end to offensive line.

Flood, now head coach, helped Civil and senior guard Antwan Lowery — when he entered as a defensive tackle — with transitioning off defensive line and ensuring their comfort along the offensive front.

On the verge of his last game at High Point Solutions Stadium, and possibly his last collegiate game, Civil might not even start.

Civil and junior right tackle Taj Alexander are listed as possible starters at right tackle for Saturday against South Florida. Alexander started the previous three games.

Flood said when Alexander earned the starting role back that he was healthier than Civil at that point.

“I think that Taj, he worked hard throughout the whole year and he earned his way into the rotation with me,” Civil said. “I don’t feel weird about it at all.”

But Civil played his fair share, gaining time at left tackle, right guard and right tackle in his career.

Civil originally lost his starting right guard job last spring. Redshirt freshman Chris Muller took over and Alexander held onto the right tackle position.

Then Civil beat out Muller for the starting job at guard in training camp before getting hurt in the season opener against Fresno State. He started two games at tackle beginning Oct. 26 against Houston, but then Alexander took over.

The offensive line has come a long way from Civil’s redshirt freshman year, though, when it allowed 61 sacks as he played two games.

In Civil’s senior year, Rutgers is long past those struggles. The Knights improved to only allow five sacks in the last five games after surrendering 24 in the first six.

“We made an emphasis that next year in 2011 to get on the same page,” Lowery said. “Guys manned up and took responsibility of their job. That’s why that next year we improved dramatically.”

Flood is not completely sure if sophomore running back P.J. James will play this week, even though he said Rutgers’ offense is inefficient without him.

“I think for us, it’s a combination of not being able to run the ball effectively when P.J.’s not in the game, and making sure we make good decisions and we don’t turn the ball over,” Flood said yesterday of why the offense declined this year. “It’s not one issue. It’s not as simple as just one player.”

Flood said Sunday that James was “50/50” to face South Florida because of his lower leg injury.

“If we played today, he would not play,” Flood said.

Junior center Betim Bujari, listed as probable with an ankle injury, has Flood’s confidence to face South Florida. He might play a different position, too.

“I think Betim is probably a lot closer to being 100 percent than he was last week,” Flood said.

The Daily Targum ranked the top 10 players in the Rutgers football team’s senior class. The Targum will reveal the rest of the countdown in tomorrow’s GameDay issue.


By Josh Bakan

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