Rutgers Football: Spring Game Preview

Rich Schultz

The annual Scarlet-White game returns with a QB controversy and lots of young talent.

The last practice of the spring football season is upon us, which means the long offseason is about to get real. After Saturday, it will be 124 days until actual college football begins again. So get out there and support your Scarlet Knights while the pads are still on. Here's a primer for the annual Scarlet-White game:

Transfer QB Philip Nelson could play

A lot of eyes will be on the quarterback trio of Gary Nova, Mike Bimonte, and Chris Laviano. That's completely understandable, as the eventual starter will have a lot to do with the success or failure of the team throughout the 2014 season. However, Kyle Flood has yet to name a starter following a competitive spring, and likely won't do so after the Scarlet-White game is finished. There's plenty of competition left, so don't expect any new movement along the depth chart here unless something major happens.

Beyond 2014, Minnesota transfer Philip Nelson enters the conversation. A lot of beat writers have written on the bright future of Nelson, although it should be noted that no one on the coaching staff has actually mentioned specifics about Nelson in practice. Ryan Dunleavy of Scarlet Scuttlebutt reports that Nelson will have an opportunity to get on the field this Saturday, so fans will have a chance to see his arm live in-person.

Young players get a chance to show some skills

Spring practice is usually a time for experienced players to rest and heal for the coming season, which means the younger players have an opportunity to showcase their talents in live-game situations. For example, Paul James' absence due to a shoulder injury allowed Desmon Peoples to gain traction as a viable candidate for playing time this fall. This is a chance for some of those highly recruited players to show the fans why they deserved those lofty ratings in high school. Players like DT Julian Pinnix-Odrick, OLs Derrick Nelson and J.J. Denman, LB Lester Liston, and DT Sebastian Joseph were big-time recruits whom fans can't wait to see get on the field. The spring game will serve as a preview for some of these players as they climb the depth chart.

Vanilla playcalling

There might be new coaches in the box and on the sideline, but don't expect too much from the team, offensively or defensively. Spring games are notorious for very limited action, and some schools are even skipping them altogether this year (or altering the game format). We're all excited to see the new wrinkles to Ralph Friedgen's offensive system and Joe Rossi's return to a more aggressive defense, but this isn't the time to witness any new changes. In fact, the defense should be limited in press coverage and blitzes. It's a day for the fans and nothing else really, so don't expect any type of sea change along the depth chart.

Game events

During halftime, the Rutgers women's basketball team and head coach C. Vivian Stringer will be honored for their WNIT championship run. In the final five minutes of play, Special Olympics New Jersey will field two teams of Olympians for a flag football matchup to end the scrimmage. For a full schedule of events, click here.

Saturday's forecast calls for 64 degrees at kickoff and a chance of showers. If you can't make it to the stadium, the scrimmage will be broadcast live on RVision with Chris Carlin, Ray Lucas, and Anthony Fucilli with the call.

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