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Rutgers starts spring without Coleman

Rutgers is the final Big East team to open spring practice today, and it will do so without one of its biggest returning playmakers on offense.

Brandon Coleman will miss all 15 spring practices following what Kyle Flood called a "minor" procedure on his knee this offseason.

The rising redshirt junior led the Scarlet Knights last season with 718 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, on 43 catches. He is the second-leading returning receiver in the Big East in 2013. (Louisville's DeVante Parker had 744 yards last season.)

"He will have to now lead from the sideline and I know he will do that," Flood said Monday during his spring-opening news conference.

Former receiver Jeremy Deering has moved to safety, leaving Quron Pratt and Miles Shuler as the first-team wideouts, and the only two on the active spring roster who have any significant playing experience at the position.

Pratt caught 22 passes for 230 yards last season, while Shuler added five catches for 71 yards, ran once for 25 yards and returned a punt and a kickoff for 23 and 17 yards, respectively.

Deering had amassed 21 catches for 415 yards during the past three seasons.

With new offensive coordinator Ron Prince officially in charge since Feb. 19, Rutgers is hoping to smoothen out the transition this spring, with opportunities there for the taking now with Coleman sidelined.

“I would think by the end of spring we would have the entire playbook installed," Flood said. "I think with the group coming back and the system not changing, the toughest decisions coach Prince and the offensive staff are going to have to make are where are the playmakers. We know Brandon Coleman is going to be one of the elite playmakers in our conference and in the country and with him not being available in the spring that is going to allow others to step up. There will be no lack of opportunities.”