Despite an early game scare when Norfolk State scored its first ever points against Rutgers, last Saturday's game turned out to be the laugher many expected as the Scarlet Knights prevailed 63-13. This Saturday, Rutgers faces a tougher challenge as Washington State and the air raid offense come to town. Here's everything you need to know to get ready for Wazzu.
I wrote about the full injury report yesterday, which you can read here. The most notable names include...
* Defensive tackle Darius Hamilton (lower body)
* Running back Desmond Peoples (upper body)
* Wide receiver John Tsimis (lower body)
* Safety Kiy Hester (lower body)
* Defensive end Djwany Mera (lower body)
* Running back Paul James (lower body)
* Defensive end Kemoko Turay (upper body)
Kyle Flood held his weekly press conference on Monday. Here are the highlights.
* Flood begins by praising Mike Leach, calling him "one of the most prolific coaches of the passing game in the history of college football." He acknowledges the air raid offense presents a "tremendous challenge" to his defense.
* Flood confirms reports that Chris Laviano will start at quarterback against the Cougars. He says the decision was made based on both quarterbacks' full body of work, including two scrimmages and last week's win over Norfolk State.
* He says Hayden Rettig is a great teammate who is "very close to being the starting quarterback", adding he'll be ready if he is needed.
* Regarding Laviano's suspension for the first half of last week's game, Flood says the team has moved on from his mistake.
* When asked about wide receiver Andre Patton, Flood says Patton had a "phenomenal" game, and that he was the best player on offense against Norfolk State. In addition to his three catches for 47 yards, Flood praises Patton's blocking and his ability to impose his well on the opponent.
* A reporter asks if the team plans to play both Laviano and Rettig on Saturday. Flood says he doesn't want any player in the program looking over their shoulder and being worried about being pulled for making a mistake.
* That being said, it's interesting to note Flood said Laviano is the starting quarterback "right now" twice. I get the feeling Laviano won't have the longest of leashes.
* Flood says the team has no plans at the moment to move running back Justin Goodwin to cornerback, where he recorded an interception against Washington State last year.
* When asked how many of his young cornerbacks he expects to play on Saturday, Flood says he expects all of them to play at some point. He points out Isaiah Wharton and Blessuan Austin both got better as the game went on last week.
* Flood is asked if Laviano won the locker room, and he responds saying both quarterbacks won the locker room. He adds there's always a good chance a team will need two quarterbacks throughout the season.
* Flood heaps praise upon running back Josh Hicks, who Flood describes as "powerful and explosive."
* Flood says five players have established themselves as starters on the offensive line, but admits they can be better. He singles out offensive tackle Keith Lumpkin as someone who played a great game on Saturday.
* When asked if he has had any contact with the players dismissed from the program, Flood simply replies, "I have not."
* This is only the second time the Scarlet Knights have faced the Cougars. The first matchup was last year's season-opening win on the road, where Rutgers defeated Washington State 41-38 in Seattle.
* Obviously, last year's game was an offense-heavy matchup. It represented just one of two times Rutgers passed and rushed for over 200 yards in a game. The other came at home against Indiana.
* Washington State is the first Pac-12 team to visit Rutgers since California did so in 2001.
* Rutgers allowed just six yards on 14 carries against the Cougars last year.
* If you're of the mind that Flood should be fired for the charges against five players last week, then you might be interested to hear in Leach's 3+ years as coach at Wazzu, his players have been arrested 24 times. And Leach is still employed.
* Also, last October, Leach said high school football in New Jersey is bad. After a team full of New Jersey high school football players beat his team to open the season. So, yeah. Let's give him hell on Saturday.
Are you worried about the injuries? What did you think of Flood's comments at the press conference? Sound off in the comments below!