Quarterback isn’t the only position under a cloud of uncertainty for Rutgers.
Starting linebacker Jamal Merrell surprisingly did not play in the Scarlet Knights’ win over Eastern Michigan. Head coach Kyle Flood had declined to discuss Merrell’s absence, which included the fifth-year senior not even being on the sidelines for the non-conference game.
Monday, the Newark Star-Ledger reported, the mystery was solved as Flood acknowledged that it was a kidney issue that knocked Merrell out of the game. The specific nature of the issue, obviously, was not divulged.
Merrell’s absence will likely bleed into this weekend as he’s doubtful for the game against Arkansas.
“I don’t really want to discuss it but it is a kidney situation and Jamal was with us (Sunday) in the meetings, but he is not at this point able to practice,” Flood said. “I do expect him back after the bye week.”
RU will have a bye week the Saturday after the Razorbacks game.
Losing Merrell would be a significant blow to a Rutgers’ defense that will be charged with the task of stopping a Razorbacks’ rushing attack that’s No. 11 in the country (294.3 yards per game) and feature a pair of running backs who have each rushed for 100-plus yards the first three games of the season.
Merrell has started 28 of the past 29 games for the Scarlet Knights, finishing the 2013 season third in tackles (83) and fourth in tackles for loss (8.5).