Ask the Experts: Part I

With two weeks before the beginning of Rutgers training camp, is here to answer your burning questions. In the first part of a busy question and answer session, we look at a breakout player in 2012 and plenty of recruiting questions.

Q. Will Coach Flood call every single play, especially defense, or will he defer to his assistants once the game plan is set before? [Former coach Greg Schiano] showed very little flexibility or half time adjustments.

A. Flood will have a hands-off approach to play-calling for now. Anything can change, but expect offensive coordinator Dave Brock and defensive coordinator Robb Smith to have plenty of freedom in their play-calling. Unlike Schiano, Flood comes from an offensive background and has zero experience calling plays on defense. Smith is an experienced play-caller on the defensive side.

Q. What's the real deal with Jabrill Peppers (as it pertains to Rutgers)? And how are we doing with 2014 kids in general?

A. Peppers has not formally eliminated Rutgers, but is highly, highly unlikely to end up at Rutgers. An early favorite for Peppers is Stanford, which was one of the schools to offer this spring.

Q. Who is the biggest surprise player for 2012 in terms of a breakout year?

A. Savon Huggins. The offensive line continues to return to what is normal and Huggins has a better understanding of what to expect. The five-star recruit got his confidence back this spring and will drastically improve on his 2.6 yards per carry and five touchdowns as a true freshman.

Q. Who's the recruit that surprised you the most by coming to Rutgers and who do you think was a Rutgers lock, but went elsewhere.

A.The most unexpected commitment this year came from University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) defensive end Nick Internicola. He enjoyed his Rutgers camp experience, but had more visits in mind before a decision and the Scarlet Knights did not have a huge lead over some other schools.

On the lock that went elsewhere, Brendan Mahon comes to mind. Very high on Rutgers, Mahon quickly shifted gears to Penn State after an offer from the Nittany Lions.

Q. I understand we have to play the FCS opponent every year, but will we play a higher quality one from the CAA like Delaware? Pitt is hosting the Blue Hens in 2014 and 2019!

A. If it ain't broke don't fix it. Don't expect Rutgers to change its strategy on FCS opponents any time soon. There is little point in scheduling an FCS powerhouse like Delaware. A win means nothing for Rutgers, but a loss is crushing.

Q. Who is the funniest player on the team and why?

A. Scott Vallone. Vallone is extremely comfortable in front of the media and has no problem joking around and letting his personality shine through. Look for Chris Muller to make a push for the title now that he is enrolled.

Q. Who will win the QB derby if you had to pick one today?

A. Gary Nova. Though not a safe bet by any means, Nova has the higher ceiling and showed an improved ability to control the ball this spring. If Nova comes to camp focused and in-shape, he has a chance to build on a good spring and take the job. Neither quarterback had a stellar spring, but Nova's upside gives him a slight edge.

Q. Get the sense that a number of our commits might be "under-recruited" Who do you think has the most potential of our diamonds in the rough?

A. Sebastian Joseph. No one outside of the schools that traditionally recruit Stroudsburg had any idea who Joseph was. He picked up an offer or extreme interest at all of his camps and would have earned a lot more with different exposure.

Joseph has a great football body with more room to grow from his 270-pound frame. He runs well for a big man and has better measurables than the likes of Darius Hamilton or Vallone as a defensive tackle.

Q. Are you surprised by the number of commits considering it's July? A. Not at all. More and more recruits are being pressured to decide early or lose their spot. Recruiting is changing and most prospects have, by now, seen a teammate or friend get dropped by his top choice because of poor timing.

Q. Here's one for you guys. If the coaches vacation in July, when do the site mods vacation?

A. We don't. You don't need one with a job this great.

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