Set your alarms. Players report at 1:30 pm today, and Coach Schiano's presser is at 2:30. Any viewers staying up last night to watch Bruce Beck on NBC in New York likely got a sneak preview. While killing time, check out the new media guide, which doesn't seem to be available yet on sk.com.
As had been rumored, the football program announced on Friday that Ray Lucas is taking over Tim Pernetti's old role as the color commentator for Rutgers radio broadcasts. Now the onus falls on SNY to find a decent in-studio replacement for their Big East football coverage.
Keith Sargeant checked in over the weekend with several items, including a preseason depth chart (which from the media guide, but the WR order is confusing in that link), and an interview with Devin McCourty. The WR two deep is by far the biggest question mark. Everyone may be watching the offense as fall camp is set to open, but that's only because Rutgers looks strong on the other side of the ball, led of course by Ryan D'Impaler.
"I expect a lot," Schiano said. "I think he's got an opportunity to be as good a linebacker as there is out there. He's big, he can run very well, he's tough. He's thoroughly committed to the game. He's a student of the game and we need him to be that. He's our guy. He's our guy up front. I love coaching a guy like that."
I understand how the national media is one big, front-running echo chamber. They don't know D'Imperio's name because of his 2007 injury, and haven't bothered studying last year's tape. Not paying attention to Ryan as a serious prospect for the next level is a mistake though, Coach Schiano will tell you that #44 is as good as any linebacker he saw with Penn State, Chicago, or Miami.
"A lot of people want to make him out to be this lunch-bucket guy, which he is," Schiano said. "But he's incredibly talented, 250 pounds and he runs like the wind. He not only a great effort guy but he's very talented."
And speaking of the draft, TFY just released its preseason BE scouting predictions, and that site is another D'Imperio skeptic. I rewatched the TV broadcast of the Pizza Bowl in detail; he can run. Any doubters need to rewatch his breakup of a pass to Owen Spencer from 3:19 in the second quarter of that game. D'Imperio will go in the fourth or fifth round next April, you can mark that down right now. The comments on Davis, Selvie, and Romeus are dead-on, but others are far off the mark.
Greg Schiano's description of the team in one word: "tough".
Aaron Hayward will have his hands full standing out in a crowded WR depth chart.
Buried in this article from over the weekend are the words that I have been waiting to read for months.
""We have a league football game the opening week, so things like the kicking game are critical,'' the Scarlet Knights' ninth-year coach said. ""They're always critical, but if you make a mistake in the kicking game and you're a better team you can overcome it. But when you're playing a team that is the defending league champs, that has to be something we spend an inordinate amount of time on because early in the season the execution of special teams can get you beat as much as anything else.''
There was a good story in the Ledger yesterday too about BE football teams and their struggles to fill an eight game schedule. It more pertaining to he league in general than RU's circumstances, but did have a few good quotes from K-Mac about the need for long term scheduling (something that I was upset to get away from near the end of Mulcahy's tenure, and a major culprit in this year's weak schedule. I did want to briefly comment on the following thought.
West Virginia's Parsons is a little less optimistic. He can foresee a scenario in which Big East teams have to regularly schedule two FCS opponents just to be able to afford seven home games.
It's one thing if those FCS games end up replacing the Kent State contests. I don't relish replacing a mid-major with a total cupcake, but it's not the end of the world. What's problematic is when those games are on the schedule in lieu of competitive games. BE teams play an unbalanced schedule, with one more game to fill than other conferences, but the solution is to schedule another home and home series with a decent team to balance it out; that's equivalent to an eight game conference schedule. Every BE team should be playing three games as part of home and home arrangements a year (maybe less in certain cases if they need the payout of a one-off against a factory on the road), and bringing in two pure cupcake wins to balance out the home schedule.
Nice find by RutgersAl: Dennis Campbell landed at Abilene Christian.
There was a good feature on Chris Demarest yesterday in the Hudson Reporter. I think most fans out there are sympathic towards Coach Demo, and wishing him success on the high school level.
Great job by Jason McCourty on his interception in the Hall of Fame game against Buffalo. Kenny Britt didn't play last night, but finally returned to practice on Friday. Jamaal Westerman is a "virtual lock" to make the Jets, outplaying the likes of Vernon Gholston. It's another day, another "Ray Rice is going to conquer the world" article. The Seattle Times has five questions with Courtney Greene.
Brian Leonard did well in Friday's scrimmage. Rookie hazing is awful. Darnell Stapleton was rumored to miss the season following knee surgery, but don't jump to any conclusions just yet. He will be out for at least two weeks. J'Vonne Parker was injured in a Thursday workout, and the team placed him on IR. Mike Teel made the Seattle play of the day on Friday. Jeremy Zuttah is entrenched as a starter, with AWOL Aaron Sears nowhere in sight in Tampa.
The new fall semester means more overcrowding on the Rutgers campus. It will be a problem until new dorms go up in two years.
Ledger: NJ students are transferring home in record numbers. As you may have read in previous articles on the topic, the flip side of that is that well-paying OOS students are leaving too.
Record: Whispers grow louder about killing Xanadu.