Rutgers Football: Best of Big Ten Media Day

Rutgers reports for training camp Sunday afternoon in what will be another exciting season for the Scarlet Knights. Scout looks back at the last media sessions for the program in Chicago, and some interesting comments from player and coach alike.

On the eve of Rutgers football training camp, Scout looks at commentary from Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood and seniors Darius Hamilton and Leonte Carroo from Big Ten Media Day.

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood

On Carroo’s Return for a Final Season

“He’s trying to go from, I don’t know if you can say good to great, because he’s on the verge of great in terms of what he’s done in college football. I think every player has little things and little details that they can be better at. Leonte is a 6-foot-1 guy, so he’s got to be able to run every route. He’s not a 6-foot-6 guy that’s just going to play on the outside. He’s played predominantly on the outside for us, but he’ll play a little bit more on the inside this year.”

On More Familiar Opponents in 2015

“It doesn’t make it easier because there’s nothing easy about winning football games, but the familiarity I think is a good thing. It made for a little bit more normalcy in our offseason. The year before, we had to really start our advance scouting a lot earlier. We had a lot more teams we had to advance scout.”

On the Chance for a Sophomore Slump in the Big Ten

“We had enough success last year that we’re really excited about it, but we’re well aware that there’s a lot of things still out there for us and a lot of goals that we still want to accomplish. When you start talking about nine bowl games in 10 years, when you talk to the players, they want to go to New Year’s Day bowl games. They want to go to Big Ten Championship games. There’s a lot of things out there that we haven’t accomplished as a football program yet that we’re building towards.”

On the Late-Starting Training Camp

“This will be the first time in my career that we’ll have a week in August with the coaching staff before we start training camp. Usually it was media days and then training camp. The players won’t be here. The players are off. The players get next week off, but a as coaching staff it will be great for us to be together next week.”

On Special Teams

“I think Alan [Lucy] will be better. Kyle [Federico] has been a very consistent performer for us and at punter we need to be better. … Two of those three spots need to improve in a big way, and I think they will.”

Senior Rutgers Receiver Leonte Carroo

On his NFL Draft Grade

“When it says to stay in school, you ultimately don’t know where you can fall. It just means that you’re not falling in the first round. I’ve heard from a lot of scouts – third round, late fourth round, early fourth round. It was kind of all over the place but it wasn’t enough to make me go. I wasn’t hearing enough positive things to say, ‘alright I’m going to go to the NFL’ I know, ultimately, at the Combine I’m going to run well. I’m going to test well. I knew that if I heard something like second round or first round, I would have blew the Combine out and did well there.”

On Big Games

“Coach Flood likes to call me a guy that loves the stage. I love big games. I don’t get bothered by it. I don’t get nervous. You get a little bit of butterflies. But I just know that if you put in the work, it will pay off during the game. You have a great week of practice and you prepare well, there’s nothing for you to worry about.”

On Teammate Carlton Agudosi

“Carlton had a tremendous spring. It definitely opened up a lot of the coaches’ eyes. If he can play like that, it gives opportunities for the run game to open or for me not to get double teamed. I’m going to be working with Carlton every day during training camp, boosting his confidence. I’m telling him that this league is a competitive league, but with your size and your speed and your ability, you have a chance to take over.”

Senior Rutgers Defensive Tackle Darius Hamilton

On Defensive Line Changes

“You’ve got a lot of guys stepping into roles that they’ve never held before. You have a guy like Sebastian Joseph, a guy like Kevin Wilkins, a guy like Kemoko Turay who could be taking over his first fulltime spot, a guy like Quanzell Lambert – this will be his first time taking over a fulltime spot. Julian Pinnix-Odrick is going to be getting a lot more time than he’s ever gotten. It’s imperative that guys like me and Djwany [Mera] step up and show these guys what needs to happen.”

On Early Departures for Kenneth Kirksey and David Milewski

“Guys like Kirksey and guys like Milewski came here and gave us everything they had. I think the guys that play the positions now, they’re ready to go. They’re really fired up about the game of football. They really love the game of football. That’s what makes them such great people, great personalities. They love the game of football. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.”

On Kevin Wilkins Maturation

“He’s 100 percent different. He’s willing to work no matter what it takes, no matter what the cost. He’s willing to put everything aside to become one of the best. I really respect him.”

On Big Ten Play

“The margin of error in the Big Ten is very little. When you play great teams, you’ve got to be ready to go. One mistake can cost you seven points each time. Sometimes for us, unfortunately, that happened last season. One of the things you’ve got to do is you’ve got to cut down on the mental errors and all of the mistakes. Talk about Big Ten, you’re not only talking about the best conference in college football, but you’re also talking about the most physical. Me as a guy who everyone looks at as a smaller person, I really embrace physical play. I love it. I loved every minute of it. To go out there and be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.”

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