I don’t think it was coincidence that the new practice complex was dedicated just before BTN showed up for its annual bus tour of preseason camps.
The new outdoor facility (and music) is on point this morning in Piscataway. Tune into @BTNLive's @RFootball coverage at 5 ET: pic.twitter.com/euwkcvxI4r— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) August 8, 2017
After a stop in Maryland the day before, the BTN bus headed up the Turnpike to Exit 9 and the home of yo-o-o-ur Scarlet Knights!
Good morning, @RFootball! The is in Jersey: pic.twitter.com/doljI6hg7J— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) August 8, 2017
When Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, and Howard Griffith sat down at the BTN dais, it was in front of a brand new facility, one that didn’t look like a high school had abandoned it.
Check out our Bus Tour Stop from @RFootball tonight at 5pm ET on @BigTenNetwork pic.twitter.com/7CuYcyt36F— BTN Live (@BTNLive) August 8, 2017
The 5:00 pm airing of BTN Live featured Rutgers (followed at 6:00 by THE Rutgers Classic, the 2014 RU_Michigan game) and several segments from the visit.
The one that everyone talked about the most was the sit down with Jerry Kill. DiNardo, a former coach himself, said his favorite part of the visit was seeing Kill. Healthy, fit, and ready to go.
"The biggest adjustment is, I'm not the head coach."— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) August 8, 2017
Jerry Kill's always good for a laugh or two. https://t.co/66LcVEbCex
There were a lot of positives, along with the expected question marks. Size and depth on both lines was questioned, although DiNardo did comment that there clearly had been improvement in size and strength of the players. And with the changes on the coaching staff.
How does @RFootball close the gap from Year 1 to Year 2?@gerrydinardo and @HowardGriffith offer their takes. https://t.co/nR5jwEUMDG— Rutgers On BTN (@RutgersOnBTN) August 8, 2017
Hopefully, this comment from Tom Dienhart will also be a true statement in games.
"This is one of the most underrated units in the Big Ten."— Rutgers On BTN (@RutgersOnBTN) August 8, 2017
- @BTNTomDienhart on @RFootball secondary
Read more » https://t.co/d7MPEUJkJ6 pic.twitter.com/UOrbLKYtyG
The secondary was highlighted, and an on-set visit from Blessaun Austin capped it. He showed that a Rutgers education is valuable as he deftly side-stepped a question by Revsine of which quarterback was ahead in the race to start. He said their coverage causes him to turn his back so he really doesn’t know who takes the snap. The guys appreciated his smooth response.
CB Blessuan Austin is part of what may be the most underrated secondary in the B1G for @RFootball. pic.twitter.com/iqLaXf4j0n— Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) August 8, 2017
The Chris Ash interview was solid. This is now a second-year head coach; the answers were direct and on point. He said the first thing they had to do after the 2016 season was forget about it and hit the reset button. He got props from the crew for being willing to admit mistakes (Drew Mehringer) and to bring in people (Jerry Kill) with maturity, experience, and who have been to more than a few rodeos.
What's been the message to @RFootball this fall, @CoachChrisAsh?— Rutgers On BTN (@RutgersOnBTN) August 8, 2017
"Forget about last year, that's the first thing." https://t.co/tndE0OXCki
While Hobbs’ sit down wasn’t on the 5:00 show, he did spend time with the three BTN analysts and was more than willing to show off the new digs. And thanks to Jon Newman, it was reported on a Pat Hobbs tweet!
Great having @BTNLive, @BTNDaveRevsine, @gerrydinardo & @HowardGriffith at the Marco Battaglia Practice Complex today! @RFootball pic.twitter.com/Yn4hionhb4— Pat Hobbs (@PatHobbsRU) August 8, 2017
And the poise and vision of Hobbs came through as he talked about what Rutgers has done and what it hopes to do.
Rutgers is in great hands with AD @PatHobbsRU - so impressed with his vision for RU & work he's done in a short time. Success will follow— Dave Revsine (@BTNDaveRevsine) August 8, 2017
Back in the studio on the 5:00 edition of BTN Live, Rick Pizzo and Glen Mason talked more about the program, including the Guardian Cap being worn by RU lineman, LBs and RBs. Mason, a Colonia, NJ native who coached at Minnesota for ten years, talked about his own experience with players who had concussive symptoms and wore similar - though not as technologically sound - devices in the past.
This is a Guardian Cap, another layer of protection for the head worn by OL, DL, RB, LB for @RFootball. pic.twitter.com/lM3KRN1ss0— Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) August 8, 2017
But if you’re coming to New Jersey, you’re coming to eat. Gerry DiNardo owns a restaurant in Bloomington. He’s Italian. Trust me...he came to eat!
Thank you to Cioffi Deli for coming by and feeding the @BTNLive crew. This is only a small part of the amazing spread! @Acioffi06 pic.twitter.com/frXQAy43PZ— Hasim Phillips (@HasimPhillips) August 8, 2017
And, yes, that’s Anthony Cioffi’s family.
Leave the microphone, take the cannoli.