SuperChat Transcript

Tom Luicci of the Newark Star Ledger, John Aiello of Gannet papers and Aditi Kinkhabwala of the Bergen Record were on hand fielding your questions on Rutgers Football and on the upcoming season Thursday evening in TheInsiders chat room. Couldn't make it? No problem - We've got the entire transcript available for your enjoyment.


bigdog77:: is brian leonard injuried?
TomLuicci:: he practiced today.
TomLuicci:: jarvis johnson is hurt.
bigdog77:: what is wrong with him?
MikeFasano:: Hurt Bad?
TomLuicci:: Not sure. he was carted off with a back injury.
TomLuicci:: Greg said he "tweaked" it.
MikeFasano:: Not good news.
TomLuicci:: Tucker did more today.
TomLuicci:: Anthony miller is gone.
TomLuicci:: Clearinghouse problems.
TomLuicci:: He can't practice until he gets through the NCAA clearinghouse.
Bump:: I thought Miller was supposed to be a bright kid. With no eligibility concerns whatsoever.                                               
TomLuicci:: it was described to us as "a clearinghouse issue".
bigdog77:: Any other news?                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
TomLuicci:: Gilkison did more today.
RUoptimist:: any positive news?
TomLuicci:: j'vonne parker is hurt too.
bigdog77:: Can each one of you give your thoughts on the team?
TomLuicci:: Injuries seem to be less of an issue.
TomLuicci:: It appears as if things are pulling together ... finally.
aiello:: Aside from injuries, things look good. We're grinding through the finish of camp.
TomLuicci:: That backup QB situation is still a concern.
TomLuicci:: They need to let Ryan Hart wear the green jersey in games.
aiello:: several freshmen have looked good and might contribute.
matei:: I'm surprised Cali hasn't pulled away with that yet.
Bump:: Is Teel the backup as soon as his ankle is fully healed?
TomLuicci:: It would make sense, but no one has seen him do anything yet and he is way behind.
MikeFasano:: Is Cali showing more confidence? I always thought that that was his main problem.
aiello:: He shows confidence off the field, but he just hasn't been sharp on it.
Aditi:: Cali's got a problem w/ his throwing motion.
TomLuicci:: I think Cali is confident. he just hasn't been impressive.
Aditi:: I concur - i've never thought confidence was an issue.
COACHMBT:: the running backs have not been getting much press, any reason?
aiello:: It's stable.
TomLuicci:: I think everyone knows what the RBs can do.
bigdog77:: All - can I have your predictions on the season's record?
TangoTwo:: I still think Pilch at Center is a concern despite how he has looked in Camp. That's a tough position to play especially for someone who has NEVER played there.
Aditi:: pilch is a smart kid and wildly hard working - keeping his weight up will be the only problem in my opinion.
TomLuicci:: Pilch is the least of their worries on offense.
TomLuicci:: backup QB and the No. 2 line are major concerns.
aiello:: My prediction is 6-5, swing games being Vanderbilt and Pittsburgh.
TomLuicci:: I'm saying 7-4, with a chance to be 8-3.
Bump:: Marcus Daniels has been quiet since the Spring Game. What gives?
MikeFasano:: Tom, you must have been reading my articles.
aiello:: nothing wrong with Daniels, there is a lot of depth at the position.
Aditi:: Seriously, I would go w/ seven wins, w/ eight not being unreasonable at all.
Bump:: How about your predictions for the conference pecking order?
Aditi:: Marcus Daniels will be used ... Greg said he'll play six and i believe he will.
TomLuicci:: I think Uconn is in for a rude awakening.
Bump:: So do I Tom.
aiello:: West Virginia won't lose in the Big East.
TangoTwo:: I think having the practices closed was a good idea. After seeing the practices, do you writers agree?
TomLuicci:: it sure seemed to close down the rumor mill.
bigdog77:: I think that WVU is going to lose a game or two in the Big East.
Bump:: I've got WVU, Pitt, BC, Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn, and Temple.
TomLuicci:: I thought it was interesting that the touchdown club came to practice the other day.
TangoTwo:: Why Yom?
TomLuicci:: But they were told that if they wrote anything on the internet off what they saw they would never be allowed back.
aiello:: Will you guys and girls travel to every road game?
MikeFasano:: I might make a couple.
TomLuicci:: I'll make as many as I can, john.
bigdog77:: Bump, you have so you have us behind 'Cuse?? Why?                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Bump:: Don, we each beat UConn/Temple. I'm not convinced yet that we can win in the Dome. Maybe if we beat MSU.
Aditi:: I'll only go to the ones tom promises to do shots on.
COACHMBT:: Where would you all rank Greg in the big east when it comes to Game day coaching?                                                                                                                                                           
TomLuicci:: let's put it this way: the jury is still out on that.
Aditi:: that's the biggest question mark of the season...
TomLuicci:: anyway, how good a coach do you have to be to be at the top of this league?
TomLuicci:: is bobby wallace a great coach?
TomLuicci:: is walt harris?
Aditi:: hey - he's a very very nice guy.
Aditi:: and so is walt.
TangoTwo:: Do the writers think RU is putting too much emphasis on the Mich St game?
TomLuicci:: is randy edsall?
bigdog77:: I feel that Temple will be better than people expect them to be. Mark my words.
aiello:: yes, it's one of 11, but nonetheless important for momentum.
TomLuicci:: SI had Temple ranked something like 115th in the country.
Bump:: All those JUCOs have a year in the program and Wallace isn't replace anywhere near as many starters
bigdog77:: SI has us 117th in 1998 and we finished 5-6 and beat pitt.
TomLuicci:: they just had the year wrong dog.
RUoptimist:: aditi and tom, since you had us going 7-4/ 8-3 do we go to a bowl?
TomLuicci:: we have to wait to see what notre dame does.
MikeFasano:: Aditi, how do you think Boston College will recruit in Bergen County now that they are in the ACC.
Aditi:: I don't know that the acc is such a dealmaker in the northeast.
Aditi:: Bergen count kids are tight w/ their families and their communities and I get the feeling being home counts.
TomLuicci:: If notre dame is out of the bcs, they can take the gator or insight bowl.
Bump:: How many wins does ND need for a Cotton Bowl bid?
COACHMBT:: Tom if Notre dame does not go to a bowl is the coach out??
TomLuicci:: cotton bowl?
TomLuicci:: not yet.
bigdog77:: Tom, you believe that Notre Dame will join a conference or still independent?
Aditi:: I believe we're bowling - i haven't planned any December vacation.
TomLuicci:: they usually give their guys 5 years at least.
TomLuicci:: faust got five years.
Bump:: Yes, the Cotton can take ND/Big East once in the current contract cycle (ends next year). And the Cotton pays better than does the Gator.
Aditi:: why would they join a conference? why do people perpetually believe they might? they have the sweetest deal...
TomLuicci:: but the contract doesn't end until AFTER next year.
TomLuicci:: so the cotton isn't a factor this year.
TomLuicci:: anyway, I'm not sure ND will be good enough.
bigdog77:: Any predictions on the MSU game?
bigdog77:: Vegas has us as 7-point dogs.
aiello:: For Rutgers' sake, 35,000 need to show up.
COACHMBT:: If we can run the ball we win.
RUoptimist:: How do you think the outcome of the MSU game affects early recruiting?
TomLuicci:: i think rutgers at least needs a good showing in the game.
TomLuicci:: a win would be huge moment.
TomLuicci:: a loss would be a setback but not crushing.
Normbrero:: The question about MSU is, how much less potent is their offense going to be?
Aditi:: I don't know how much one game matters.
matei:: Damon Dowdell has been vaulted to the top and will start against RU.
Normbrero:: Aditi - it probably makes more of a difference if they (RU) win.
aiello:: they moved the two leading rushers to defense, so they must have some talent in the backfield.
TomLuicci:: and they have their top receivers back.
TangoTwo:: IF we beat Mich St, does that change what you feel we can be this year?
Normbrero:: WRs - you mean the kid that ran roughshod over us last year?
Aditi:: in recruiting? sure. but these kids aren't picking their school b/c of one game.
aiello:: certainly, it's a big conference team with tradition.
TomLuicci:: yes. he's back.
TangoTwo:: I mean overall record.
Bump:: John, one of the replacements (Caulcrick?) has been moved to LB.
Normbrero:: Aditi - I meant in terms of the season & confidence, etc, etc.
Aditi:: tangotwo - no. i think rutgers should be good regardless.
TomLuicci:: it doesn't for me, because there are too many either-way games on the schedule.
aiello:: yeah, that's true - injuries.
TomLuicci:: they will win one we don't expect and lose one we don't expect.
Aditi:: different issue, normbrero. and yes, i agree on that.
Normbrero:: Tom - not sure I'm on board with that, as this team generally wins the ones they're supposed to and vice versa
FatCatSPK:: Just to back track to a topic further up, regarding BC in Bergen County, How will anyone know due to the BR's scaled back coverage? Aditi, any plans by the paper to increase it back to the level it started last season at? Its a hugely important recruiting area.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Aditi:: fatcat, tough question... we have a different sports editor w/ a different view towards college sports as compared to when I first came in.
Aditi:: but right now excitement's building and i know i have a lot of work to do this weekend!
Aditi:: if rutgers wins, the paper will have to up its coverage...
Bump:: What are our chances at home against West Virginia?
TomLuicci:: Norm, you sure about that?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Normbrero:: Taking away SU, pretty much yeah. Though I felt they would beat SU last year.
TomLuicci:: if you mean just last year i can agree.
RUoptimist:: hopefully that loss isn't to Kent or NH.
TomLuicci:: connecticut and buffalo?
TangoTwo:: Do the writers feel the UConn game will be for a Bowl Game bid for RU?
TomLuicci:: although they could have beaten BC and West Virginia.
Normbrero:: Tom - yeah, in years past I think they lost ones they weren't supposed to. But we never got the other end of that candle.
MikeFasano:: John, what player if any do you think will surprise?
aiello:: Chris Baker, without a doubt.
MikeFasano:: Really, why?
aiello:: Everyone has been waiting for him to emerge and he will likely get the opportunity this season. he's got all the tools.
matei:: I agree there - the key is whether he'll get the chance.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
aiello:: Baker views himself as a deep threat, not suitable for this offense, but still the potential is there
bigdog77:: Hey, one of the weakest areas of the team seems to be the secondary. What are your thoughts? Have they improved during the summer and with the help of Coach Demarest?
TangoTwo:: Will RU be playing for a Bowl game bid on Thanksgiving?                                                                                                                                                                                                       
TomLuicci:: if I have to get up at 7 a.m. that day, i sure hope so tango.
Aditi:: Demo is a wild man.
Aditi:: and the kids really seem to like playing for him.
aiello:: demo tries to cause chaos so when it's game time the d-backs won't know the difference.
Aditi:: jarvis is solid and Nugent's been looking really tough I think. Porter and Roberson are two of the fastest guys on the team.
COACHMBT:: With exception of Leonard, any potential NFL stars on the roster?
Aditi:: What do you think tom?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
TomLuicci:: I have to see Porter and Roberson in a game.
FatCatSPK:: Tom, I miss your role as a columnist. Any chance of that making a comeback? Its one of those things that just really missing from all of the local coverage.
Aditi:: players, not necessarily stars - Jarvis and Harley for sure.
aiello:: would've said Nate Robinson, but he's fallen off the face of the earth.
TomLuicci:: Nugent has looked good.
TomLuicci:: very active.
Aditi:: John glass.
TomLuicci:: Jarvis is rock solid.
Aditi:: jarvis is hitting HARD.
COACHMBT:: how big is he??
aiello:: if he doesn't make the nfl, he'll be a bounty hunter.
TomLuicci:: can't tell yet. info on jarvis today was sketchy.
Aditi:: i thought it was just cramps w/ jarvis...
RUoptimist:: is the pass rush going to be improved? what is the status of Lukabu?
Aditi:: is it not, tom?
TangoTwo:: When Schiano was hired, and spoke about his vision, did the writers ever think he would get RU to the point where they are now?
aiello:: they're going to miss Raheem this season.
aiello:: I wasn't here when Greg was hired, but his intense personality is reflected in this team.
Aditi:: I don't know john. I really really used to like ryan neil's play. val's bigger than he's ever been and foster's looked decent too.
aiello:: So, no, I'm not surprised he led them to this point.
TangoTwo:: Thanx, because so far he's to only one to get us to this point.
Aditi:: I'm not either - I try to never count out young, grossly ambitious people.
bigdog77:: I feel that Barnaby will be a factor and will take Orr place as the top pass rusher.
aiello:: yeah, but will the command the attention Raheem did last season?
bigdog77:: This is hard to say.
RUoptimist:: will Berk step up this year and be a playmaker?
aiello:: if he gets the time. the lb position is deep. Berk has put last season's problems behind him, but still has much to prove.
bigdog77:: If Val can be dominant, that would be to our advantage. He will not command the attention by mid-season.
MagicAl56:: Do you feel that Rutgers' opponents are under or overestimating RU's ability to win? Which team will be surprised if any?
bigdog77:: john/Aditi, What are your opinions on the defense?
aiello:: ru won't be underestimated, spoke to an MSU player today who knows what to expect.
COACHMBT:: Do you guys honestly enjoy covering this team??
Aditi:: i'm really high on the defense.
aiello:: at times it is a grind, but there are some interesting personalities to keep us entertained.
Aditi:: he's going to be able to roll the line and linebackers.
Aditi:: and I don't think anyone in the league has as many good lbs as Rutgers does.
Bump:: Who are the colorful personalities? The good interviews?
aiello:: oh, the defense...the young corners are a concern, Roberson and porter. remember, this team was burned a lot last year with two future pros at the corners.
Aditi:: I love sports writing and I love covering college sports. I like these kids a lot and so for the most part, I do enjoy covering this team.
aiello:: Ryan Hart is a straight shooter. J'vonne parker is one of the friendlier players. then there's always Beckford - a great talker.
Aditi:: jarvis is my favorite.
RUoptimist:: with all due respect Nate Jones is in the nfl for his kick returning he was an average db in my opinion.
COACHMBT:: From the couch I would think some personalities....Jarvis, Hairston, Berk, would be fun to cover ... Are they cocky in person??
aiello:: true optimist, just a point. the corners are still inexperienced.
aiello:: no one is cocky. it's disappointing sometimes.
RUoptimist:: could a Bowl season sway some of the UVA commits to reconsider?
aiello:: From another perspective, they all seem to pull for one another, even when competing for time.
COACHMBT:: Really!
aiello:: I think a bowl season will change how this program is looked at from many angles.
Bump:: Who is going to be our best TE?
matei:: Chris Loomis!
FatCatSPK:: Since at away games when I'm drinking in a parking lot I end up talking to Mr. Loomis, I hope its Chris Loomis.
aiello:: Harris. but Sam Johnson is right there.
Aditi:: my vote's on Sam Johnson.
Bump:: Who will return punts?
aiello:: don't put too much stock in the bowl bid. recruiting is up, the facilities are better. maybe I am drinking the kool aide.
aiello:: Tres, maybe Kane or foster.
TangoTwo:: I think we all are drinking it.
Aditi:: Even Linton's said he wants to.
RUoptimist:: is Kane the real deal? also comment on Linton.
Aditi:: I'm saying this now - when they signed Linton, I remember saying to john, great, b/c Greg needs another 5-8 running back from Florida.
aiello:: Kane is among the quickest players on the team, not sure about his hands yet. Linton has the goods. he is also quite mature
TangoTwo:: Hey Tom I heard you stood in one place too long at the Stadium the other day and got painted red.                                                                                                                                           
TomLuicci:: it's true.
TangoTwo:: LOL
Aditi:: But this is not any 5-8 kid - he's wicked smart, he's SO explosive, and he can cut like a rock star.
TomLuicci:: I'm wearing a Field Turf shirt as we speak.
COACHMBT:: How much does Linton weigh?
TangoTwo:: With a Picture of the Scoreboard on the back?
aiello:: Linton weighs 190.
Aditi:: 190ish I think - he's solid.
Aditi:: bigger than you'd think.
COACHMBT:: Can he be an every down back?
RUoptimist:: will Zuttah redshirt or is he too good to keep down?
Aditi:: No. I don't think Greg will ever have an every down back
Aditi:: He likes variety it seems.
TomLuicci:: no redshirt for Zuttah.
Aditi:: Zuttah will play.
aiello:: zuttah was working with the first team today, if that lends any insight.
Aditi:: oh, he's another great quote.
Aditi:: zuttah and linton both.
COACHMBT:: Aditi, Brian is an every down back.
Aditi:: he won't be used that way this year.
COACHMBT:: Why?
Aditi:: not w/ justise.
Aditi:: healthy.
matei:: I think what Aditi meant was on this team, the way GS runs it...
TomLuicci:: I'll tell you this. Brian told me he was worn down a little at the end of last year.
Aditi:: Greg really likes Facyson for certain things.
COACHMBT:: Brian is better then Justise!!!
TomLuicci:: so having them split carries will help both.
aiello:: does it matter?
Aditi:: brian averaged 4.1 yards per carry, justise 4.0.
MagicAl56:: Brian left nothing on the table last year.
Aditi:: justise was a true frosh, brian a redshirt w/ a year in the program and knowing the system, justise got hurt, brian didn't.
matei:: Brian did so much more though...YPC don't tell the entire story.
Aditi:: i'm not saying justise is better, but don't be so quick to rule him out as a nice complement to brian.
TomLuicci:: they need both.
Aditi:: brian is a much greater threat on those screens.
TomLuicci:: and I don't see why they can't co-exist.
matei:: Yes, they're a tremendous complement to one another - what a problem to have.
aiello:: get used to the screens.
COACHMBT:: can Justise catch?
RUoptimist:: will ver steeg open up and throw the deep ball more?
TomLuicci:: he had that one catch in the first game last year .... and then none after that.
TomLuicci:: he has been working on it.
aiello:: not likely, hart is perfect for the short passing offense.
Aditi:: yeah, but w/ Baker and Daniels LOVING the deep routes, john, you don't think we won't see it?
Aditi:: Tuck said he loves running those too...
RUoptimist:: but then how do we keep a defense honest and not have 8 in the box?
aiello:: it would be nice. what a way to change a game.
Aditi:: you can't - not w/ these wideouts.
Aditi:: Tres and Willie and tuck and Baker and Daniels - they're all threats.
TomLuicci:: or they can just throw a flare to Leonard and he can take it 70 yards.
Aditi:: the tight ends too.
milfy:: who is pictured on the web site picture advertising this chat?
TomLuicci:: the attractive one is aditi.
Aditi:: awww...
TomLuicci:: wait. that's keith.
Aditi:: nuts!
COACHMBT:: Tom. Is this offense too Vanilla to compete with the better teams?
TomLuicci:: this offense is built to take advantage of the talent they have.
TomLuicci:: you can't throw long if you can't pass protect.
TomLuicci:: that's the other thing people are forgetting.
TomLuicci:: if they throw long they are opening hart up to some major hits.
RUoptimist:: good point.
aiello:: hart doesn't need major hits.
Aditi:: what he needs is a bubble.
TomLuicci:: they need to put hart in that knight armor.
Bump:: If opponents are pressing our WRs (i.e., Michigan State), all it takes is three steps and throw deep.
COACHMBT:: I know but last year. 1st down Run to tailback, 2nd ..short pass...3rd Screen. it seemed all the time.
TomLuicci:: and if they can put him on the horse during the game that would really be fun.
RUoptimist:: plus with the type of offense we have we are suited to long time consuming drives that give the defense a rest.
TomLuicci:: this defense doesn't need a rest.
TomLuicci:: it needs to stop people.
TomLuicci:: defensively, this team is pretty deep.
Aditi:: stop big plays.
TomLuicci:: I don't think you can judge the offense too harshly off last year.
TomLuicci:: they had to establish something.
TomLuicci:: think about where that unit came from.
COACHMBT:: True.
TomLuicci:: They were one of the best in school history statistically and people are complaining.
aiello:: remember, it was Ver Steeg's first year. he still has many tricks.
TangoTwo:: How do your fellow writers from the other teams perceive RU?
TomLuicci:: we'll see more this year.
TomLuicci:: the magazines have them anywhere from 3rd to last in the BE.
RUoptimist: will Ito make an immediate impact and will he kickoff and punt?
TomLuicci: I think the perception nationally is that Rutgers has to do it first.
Aditi: Ito will placekick for now.
TangoTwo: Thanx.
aiello: Ito will make a huge impact, won't kickoff or punt.
Aditi: Radigan looks to punt.
TomLuicci: the judge will be a huge benefit this year.
aiello: Cortese will likely kick off.
Aditi: Very, very cool kid.
matei: Is Radigan fully healed yet?
aiello: yes, he can fully extend the knee again.
steinmeister: What is going on with Big Nate?
TangoTwo: If RU stubs it's toe this year, will it set things back?
TomLuicci: big Nate is one of the mysteries of camp.
aiello: Nate has had stomach problems for several months which have set him back.
TomLuicci: I think it all depends on how Rutgers stubs its toe.
TangoTwo: 5-6.
TomLuicci: bad losses?
TomLuicci: to temple?
TangoTwo: No, just losses.
TomLuicci: i'd have to see it first.
TangoTwo: ok.
TomLuicci: not sure I can make a blanket statement.
TomLuicci: after all 5-6 would be an improvement technically.
aiello: percentage points and all.
MagicAl56: Any ideas what's up with Fields or is he the other big mystery?
TangoTwo: True but it seems like the pressure is on for a Bowl Bid, and if not it would be a let down.
aiello: Fields is a bigger mystery than Nate. sorry no insight. they run a tight ship.
steinmeister: Have any of you heard about QB's RU may be recruiting for next year?
aiello: I hear they've offered a sophomore qb from bishop in Edison.
TomLuicci: haven't heard, but i can tell you I spoke to St. Peter's prep coach rich Hansen the other night.
RUoptimist: How long can GS keep selling his program without tangible results say, 6-5/7-4?
TomLuicci: he has a big time RB who was all set for Florida until he visited Rutgers.
aiello: that's what the hale center is for, optimist.
Aditi: Chris Simms' little brother...
TomLuicci: shouldn't Rutgers have been able to get Chris Allison?
RUoptimist: thanks john.
TomLuicci: his father played at Rutgers.
TomLuicci: i'm old enough to have seen Matty Allison play.
TangoTwo: Tom did you ever think RU would be where it is today after all the years you been around?
TomLuicci: the facilities are really impressive now.
TomLuicci: they are top notch.
matei: For each of our guests, can you give us a few words on: Rutgers 5 years from now.
TomLuicci: they're doing a lot of things right .... finally.
TomLuicci: 5 years from now Rutgers will be the beast of the Big East.
TomLuicci: but will Greg still be the coach?
RUoptimist: now the state is screwing things up by clogging route 18.
aiello: 5 years from now, if Rutgers is a perennial bowl invitee, better worry about Greg leaving.
TomLuicci: 5 years from now route 18 will finally be done.
RUoptimist: john you don't believe he is here for the long haul?
MagicAl56: I thought Rt. 18 was going to take 18 years...
TangoTwo: Would the state pay to have him stay?
TomLuicci: and it won't take 18,000 of us 5 hours to get to the games.
matei: You guys don't believe this really is his dream job?
aiello: creating something from scratch is enticing, but you never know.
TomLuicci: he would have to uproot a family with four kids.
aiello: we don't know what is in Greg's head.
TomLuicci: and he does love the state.
Aditi: he's awfully ambitious. I don't know that he's a lifer...
TomLuicci: what if he turns Rutgers around and then becomes the giants coach in 2009?
FatCatSPK: Schiano wants the fame and legacy of a Paterno. Someone who is synonymous with his school. he gets Rutgers winning and he'll be here forever.
Aditi: thanks all for having me.
MikeFasano: Aditi, Thanks for coming.
matei: Thanks Aditi.
TomLuicci: see you tomorrow Aditi.
TomLuicci: bye.
aiello: see ya Aditi.
matei: Thanks John.
MagicAl56: Thanks, reporters!
TomLuicci:I will be disappointed in RU fans if there is not close to 40,000 for the opener.
TomLuicci: thanks everyone.
matei: Thanks for dropping by Tom - hope to do this again in the future.
MikeFasano: Thanks, Tom, John.
TomLuicci: any time.
TomLuicci: Maybe before the bowl game.
matei: No doubt!

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