Training camp is underway for the Scarlet Knights.
With exactly one month until the season-opener against Boston College, Rutgers took the practice field for the first time on Wednesday. No pads yet but players were able to get their feet wet while the coaching staff begins to evaluate the team they have for the fall.
“It was really good energy,” head coach Greg Schiano said after practice. “We’re a well-conditioned team. We have some young, good players but they’re young so they’re leaning every step of the way, but encouraging.”
As expected, the quarterback competition and offensive line progression remain major topics of discussion. The parallel between the two is that Rutgers has young talent at each position to develop over the course of camp.
Under center, Gavin Wimsatt enters his freshman year as one of the candidates to be named the starter. Noah Vedral and Evan Simon remain in the mix for what could be a platoon as well.
“They’re kind of at different levels of progression,” Schiano said. “Until you put the pads on, it’s all good work but you can't really tell yet. It’s probably a better question once we get the pads on.”
Along the offensive line, it is important to find the right group of guys who can gel together. Schiano has made it clear that he is interested in playing multiple guys over the course of the season — as opposed to nailing down a steady five.
Linebacker, wide receiver, you name it — Rutgers has young talent that could be important this season. It is up to the coaching staff to find the right group that can make an impact.
“This team is in a good spot,” Schiano said. “How we develop our younger players is going to be the key to this season. These next 30 days are a huge part of that.”
Schiano is entering the third year of his second stint at Rutgers. He is beginning to get a full group of his guys on the field. The road is a long one for the Scarlet Knights in the Big Ten but it is clear that they belong more than they did pre-Schiano.
Now, it is about taking that next step on the field and being competitive week in and week out.
“I think we’re right in the middle of that climb,” Schiano said. “Everytime you look at a team, who knows what’s going to happen. Every season is its own entity, is its own story. I’m not trying to prejudge us. I know that we have some talented players that have bought into our culture. If we don't make mistakes, we might have some special moments.”