We are officially three weeks away from the opening kickoff at home against Norfolk State. With training camp in full swing, here is a links round up with news and notes on everything Rutgers football.
Yesterday was the fifth practice of camp, but it was the first practice with the players in full pads. In addition, with today's double session, the coaching staff will have plenty to evaluate at the end of the first week of camp. Dan Duggan's practice report from Friday is here.
In regards to today's double session, the afternoon practice is open to the public. The open practice will be held on F3 practice field between 3:30-4:45 p.m. For thirty minutes afterwards, players will be available for autographs and to mingle with the fans. Ryan Dunleavy previews what fans should be looking for during the open practice.
Keith Sargeant previews today's open practice session as well as profiling fullback Sam Bergen. Replacing Michael Burton at the fullback position is vital and Bergen hopes to be the lead blocker in the backfield. As the Detroit Lions are learning, Burton is a blocking machine. We all know how loaded the Rutgers backfield is this season. While it is unfair to expect Bergen to step in and play at the same level Burton did, it is important for him to be a solid contributor in his final season.
The offensive line battle is well underway and Dorian Miller is profiled here by Tom Luicci. He is fighting for the starting position at left guard and has had a good start this week. Miller mentions how helpful it has been to have Anthony Davis around at camp. Davis surprised many by taking this season off from the NFL to heal his body. There have been questions on what role Davis can have with Rutgers and this article states that it will be limited.
ESPN's Big Ten blog posted their season prediction for Rutgers yesterday here. They highlight Rutgers inability to land the top players from New Jersey in the class of 2016, as well as the importance of our conference opener at Happy Valley.
In general, the writers on the Big Ten blog have given Rutgers a fair share of credit for their surprising first season in the conference. Last week they offered their preseason power rankings for the conference, with Rutgers tabbed eighth. Their power rankings include five teams from the East division in the top eight, with Rutgers right behind Michigan and TTFP. Brian Bennett knows Rutgers well as he covered the Big East blog for ESPN back in the day.
Here are highlights from yesterday's first practice in pads:
Head Coach Kyle Flood addresses the media after practice yesterday:
And a statement from Flood regarding today's open practice: