Spring camp culminated with the annual Scarlet-White game on Saturday. Here are highlights of several big plays and scores, as well as head coach Chris Ash’s postgame press conference. Also, I give five takeaways from the spring game, as Rutgers has four months to keep developing before training camp begins.
Scarlet-White Game Highlights
Tom Flacco With Gutty Touchdown Run
Jonathan Hilliman Up The Gut For The Score
Bo Melton Makes Big Play #1
Artur Sitkowski To Bo Melton As The Future Is Now
Sitkowski to Melton for a 75 yard touchdown has a nice ring to it. #RFootball— On the Banks (@OTB_SBNation) April 14, 2018
Charles Snorweah Up The Gut For The TD
Tremendous Catch From Everett Wormley On Jalen Chatman Throw
Bo Melton With Another Big Play & TD Pass From Sitkowski
Note: Sitkowski connected with Melton for five catches, 188 yards and three touchdowns on the day.
Heartwarming Moment As 4 Year Old Mordecai Carthy Runs For 93 Yard Touchdown
Round of applause for Mordecai Carthy!— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) April 14, 2018
The five-year-old @RFootball fan has autism, and he set the record Saturday for longest rushing TD in school history with a 93-yard score to end the Scarlet Knights' spring game: pic.twitter.com/pDz0qjmxvQ
Honorary Coach & Former Jets Player Bart Scott Gives Take On Rutgers Defense
Chris Ash Postgame Presser
AB’s Quick Take On Game & Ash’s Presser
- Everyone came out of the spring and this game without major injury. That is significant and shouldn’t be discounted. The players overall looked Big Ten caliber from a physical standpoint. The strength and conditioning program is working under Kenny Parker. Ash said at the time of his hiring that the most important coach he brought with him to Piscataway was Parker and the results he has produced make it easy to understand why.
- Artur Sitkowski made some mistakes and threw two picks, but he also showcased his talent and made throws no one on the roster could make a year ago. He has a big arm along with touch and meshed very well with receiver Bo Melton. It’s probably the most important development from this scrimmage, that these two players now give Rutgers big play potential they haven’t had in several seasons within the passing game. Melton has worked hard this offseason and it showed in a big way today. His ability to get behind the defense and be a deep threat, while also able to be a factor in the short to intermediate passing game gives him star potential. Sitkowski looks the part of a big time quarterback and was reportedly unhappy with his overall play in this scrimmage. That’s a great sign and regardless of his potential, Rutgers needs a quarterback with that type of competitive nature who can be a leader, while able to back it up on the field.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of depth at the quarterback position. Ash was clear this current group is more talented and deeper since his arrival at Rutgers. Johnathan Lewis, Gio Rescigno, Tom Flacco, and Jalen Chatman all made plays today. Sitkowski cemented his front runner status entering training camp, but this program needs all five signal callers to keep improving in the coming months. Last spring Rutgers didn’t have a scholarship quarterback available in the Scarlet-White game. Major progress in just one year with potential for even more improvement.
- Don’t read too much into the rushing stats, as Ash said in the presser that the focus was working on the passing game in this scrimmage. It was a good decision, giving fans what they wanted to see and it also showcased the improved offense that produced a lot of big plays. They’ll need Hilliman, Blackshear and the rest of the group to be productive next season after the departures of Gus Edwards and Robert Martin. The fact that this group is healty gives them a chance to really develop leading up to training camp with new positon coach Nunzio Campanile.
- Ash seems confident that this team has gotten better this spring and that is the biggest takeaway for me from this offseason. Yes there is a certain level of coach speak going on, but you can actually tell from Ash’s demeanor and speech a certain level of confidence I don’t recall him having in his short tenure so far. It wasn’t just today, as he has seemed more comfortable with where the program currently is and where it’s headed the entire spring. The coaching staff has been upgraded, the freshman who were thrown into the fire last season are developing, most who redshirted are competing for the two deep, and there are several talented newcomers as well. Things are trending up. While nothing should be weighed too heavily from today or from the entire spring, it’s fair to say Rutgers football has a chance to be much improved next season.
We will have more analysis of the Scarlet-White game in the coming days.