As Tom Luicci reported (video), not only was the weather extremely hot for the team's first practice, but the field turf absorbs heat and gets even worse. You'd think that Coach Schiano would want to draw it up exactly that way, because cramping is always an issue early in September. Players are rusty, and they're not in pads yet, so it would be a mistake to jump to any conclusions at this early point. If there's one thing that I want to hear though, it's that Dom Natale is putting his stamp on the offense. I've been saying all along: forget Tom Savage for this year. Rutgers is going to win or lose with an upperclassman QB.
Now, if Savage or Jefferson can see about a series a game to start off with, and show enough flashes to that one taking over next year looks more plausible, that would be ideal. Not only does Savage need a spirited competition to keep him on his toes, but how can a potential star like D.C. Jefferson be an afterthought after one redshirt season? Reading that Jefferson started camp off on the right foot was music to my ears. Give them hell, D.C.
It came out Monday that Anthony Davis weighed in around 325 lbs, which was ten pounds higher than the coaching staff's set weight for him this season. As a consequence, Davis actually ran with the second team yesterday, with Kevin Haslam moving over to left tackle, and Howard Barbieri (guess he's jumped Stapleton again) subbing in at RT. This is mostly a non-story at this point. Davis was suspended along with Kenny Britt for a team rules violation off the field last year, so you have to hope that AD deals with this in a positive way, and takes care of business over the next few weeks in order to get where he needs to be. There's no reason to believe that he won't at the moment. Davis was also named to the preseason Outland Trophy watch list yesterday.
As far as not overreacting goes, Jamal Merrell is listed on the roster as a linebacker, but saw time at receiver yesterday. We'll see what happens when Sanu returns. One of the biggest selling points with the Merrell twins is that both are fairly versatile athletes. Before Malcolm Bush reaffirmed his commitment in February, there was speculation about giving Jamil a look at tight end. David Rowe is also getting reps at strong safety ahead of Khaseem Greene (article also has many, many more additional details). If he sticks there, it would clarify the position's depth chart somewhat (starters Lefeged and Kitchen appear entrenched), and perhaps clear the way for Ryan, Givens, or Smith to see more minutes.
Marcus Weatherspoon may return from shoulder surgery this week, but will find a crowded depth chart at linebacker greeting him when he does. Kordell Young is limited at the moment to individual drills.
Ben Doody spoke with BE commissioner John Marinatto at media day. If I'm getting impatient waiting for the new bowl lineup to be announced, I can't imagine what it must be like in the league offices in Providence at the moment.
Kenny Britt finally strapped on the pads for the first time this fall on Tuesday. Now it's up to Britt to make up for his lost week, and earn more playing time as the season approaches. He's in a fairly good position to contribute early because of how Rutgers prepared him for the next level.
"His offense in college was a pro style system. That’s one of the reasons we drafted him because we saw him do things on tape," Fisher said. "He’s picked things up fast, he’s paying attention and he had no issues today as far as alignments and assignments. It’s just a matter of getting used to it and doing it every day."
Check this video out for more Britt from Tuesday. More video - Ray Rice on his training regimen. And what streaming video collection would be complete without Coach Schiano's appearance on NBC from Sunday night? (Or Michelle Yu's opening day report for SNY?)
Jamaal Westerman has seen looks at inside linebacker over the past week, but he'll probably move back outside (and see a larger role on special teams, too). Jason McCourty sees the margin for error as much smaller in the NFL. Tiquan Underwood has been dropping passes. Vic Ketchman of Jaguars.com has an unnatural enthusiasm for Cameron Stephenson and his performance in the Oklahoma drill. Like week-old plus news? Because Joe Porter was having a solid camp.
Wes Bunting from the National Football Post posted his evaluations of several Rutgers prospects yesterday (I think he also may have been responsible for the TFY article I linked here several days ago). The writeup on Anthony Davis is 100% dead-on, as has been most of what I have read about Davis over the past few months. Once again though, the Haslam and D'Imperio evaluations are totally off the mark. Haslam doesn't have great technique at offensive tackle, but his athleticism will intrigue NFL scouts to the point that he'll go far higher than warranted next April, because pro teams are always looking for potential left tackles. I don't see him having the strength at the point of attack to stick at guard at all. Not only are the comments about D'Imperio's supposed lack of athleticism completely off the mark, Bunting strangely thinks that Ryan lacks toughness and struggles to shed blocks. That's akin to claiming that Timmy Brown can't run a forty yard dash. Just, no.
Reoccuring internet rumors come true: I have no reaction to everything coming out of Louisville this week. Move along. Best not to cross the streams here.
The debate rages on: should the NJSEA add slot machines to race tracks?