Media Day at Rutgers

This year's version of Media Day, unlike previous years, was sandwiched nearly in the middle of the team's practice schedule. Indeed, it was held on the very same day as the Kickoff Celebration set for Sunday afternoon.

"Right now, one week into training camp I am very encouraged by what I am seeing. I think that directly correlates with our senior leadership. Finally, our playmakers are also the guys that have been here for 4 or 5 years," stated Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano.

It is one of the key trademarks of this current team that has put fans in the cautiously optimistic category. At nearly every position a key contributor from last year returns. Offensively, the skill positions are the one area with least concern. Defensively, though questions remain in the interior of the line, the ends are led by Ryan Neill while the linebackers return significant experience.

However, one key area that is of no concern is the conditioning of the team. Despite the soaring temperatures this past week, conditioning has not been a problem whatsoever and the players have responded very well.

"I am very pleased with the conditioning of the team. It [this week and the heat] showed me we are a very well-conditioned football team," Schiano said. "They [the strength and conditioning staff, led by Jay Butler] have done a very good job."

Fans have but to rewind a single year to last year's opening game when, in similar conditions as this past week, it was the opposition that suffered under the extremes of the weather.

The primary football questions that have yet to be resolved include the center position, the situation at tailback, the linebacker situation and the interior of the defensive line. Additionally, last year's freshman sensation, Jeremy Ito, is pushing Joe Radigan for punting duties.

Despite the question marks, none of which pose the kind of problems that the Rutgers staff was faced with as little as two or three years ago, optimism abounds.

"I have a good feeling about this group of guys. I have a good feeling about this staff. I have a good feeling about our team," Schiano said.

"This is a special group of guys and I've told them that and I think they understand that."


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