Spring Camp Recap: Five Questions

Spring camp is complete and only final exams stand between Rutgers football and a few well-earned weeks of rest. Taking a look back at spring practice, ScarletReport.com examines five questions that will linger during summer workouts.

Rutgers wraps up its academic semester this week before some well-earned time away from campus. Returning for summer workouts at the end of the month, Rutgers has plenty of questions going into an exciting summer in Piscataway.

5. How healthy is Rutgers? -- Coach Kyle Flood said midway through spring that he expected a healthy roster by the middle of the summer. How realistic is that expectation? Brandon Coleman was in a similar situation last season, and leg problems lingered for the entire season. Rutgers went through spring practice without its top three running backs, a limited No. 1 receiver and key starters missing on both sides of the ball. Flood needs them all back and fighting fit by August with Washington State waiting to clash.

4. How does quarterback depth shake out? -- Senior Gary Nova has a significant lead as the starter and junior Mike Bimonte is ahead of red-shirt freshman Chris Laviano for the backup job. Something would have to happen for the depth chart to appear any other way when the season begins, but crazier things have happened. Bimonte had multiple days where he was the best quarterback on the field this spring, and Laviano saw things slow down by the end of camp. Nova remains in place to win yet another quarterback battle, however, and lead Rutgers into the Big Ten with 28 career starts under his belt.

3. Which spring surprise keeps it going? -- Bryan Leoni has a chance to win a starting job on the offensive line, and running back Desmon Peoples showed tremendous improvement as he attempts to climb the depth chart at his position. David Milewski and Djwany Mera are established defensive ends, but there are significant roles available for the likes of Julian Pinnix-Odrick and Kemoko Turay after impressive springs. Sometimes spring improvements do not carry over into camp, but those that keep the momentum going have a chance to shake up the depth chart in a big way.

2. Which freshman turns heads? -- There's always one or two true freshmen that are able to make an instant impact. Anthony Cioffi and Justin Goodwin were destined for red shirts when they arrived, but earned significant playing time by turning heads in camp. Running back Josh Hicks comes in with high expectations at a position of need. Linebacker Sidney Gopre and defensive tackle Kevin Wilkins both bring high ratings to their positions where there is limited depth. Andre Boggs could end up at receiver or defensive back according to Flood, both of which needing fresh bodies.

1.Will experience make a difference? -- Rutgers now has a crop of sophomores in the defensive secondary and a new defensive coordinator. Defending the pass was the primary setback for Rutgers during its 6-7 2013 season, and experience is no longer an excuse. Flood replaced Dave Cohen with Joe Rossi as a play-caller, which projects to improve the defensive scheme. Delon Stephenson, Nadir Barnwell, Anthony Cioffi and the returning Ian Thomas all have on-field experience and high expectations. Adding a second series of freshmen cornerbacks for depth projects to bolster the secondary.

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