I caught the Saturday afternoon practice for my first practice of the year.
Last year when I saw Schiano's first team the thing that stood out was the fact that the players were simply in better shape than Terry Shea's teams had been. Plain and simply they had more muscle and looked more like a division 1A football team. This year's edition had that look but they had more. This year they had speed.
I spent a good amount of time watching wide receivers were the addition of speed is most noticable. RU already had players like Moses, Bryan Wilson and Jerry Andre but in Shawn Tucker, Fred Robinson, Darren Haliburton and especially Corey Barnes they have added a ton of velocity to the wide receiver corps. Although Barnes appears to be the fastest, Tucker is clearly the most impressive. He is big, fast with sure hands and incredible moves. On one play he faked a defender right off his feet to get himself wide open for the pass. Just after one hour of seeing this kid I'll be surprised if he doesn't start.
A couple of more notes on wideouts before moving on.
I like Chris Baker at WR. Baker, Haliburton and Tucker all add size in addtion to speed to the wideouts. Baker has to work on holding onto the ball but he has the speed and moves to play the position.
Bryan Wilson also impressed. He doesn't have the flat out quickness of his Florida team mates but he has enough speed and he matches that up with good hands and solid routes.
Overall I had the sneaky suspicion that we might see a bit of "Air Schiano" before this season was over.
Most of the rest of the time I was watching quarterbacks. I really liked what I saw in Ryan Cubit. He was in command, showed excellent mechanics, looked off receivers well and put the ball on the money. If he gets some pass protection this year he could get the job done.
Of the freshmen Anthony Cali had a better practice than Ryan Hart. Both have good arms but Cali was clearly more consistent in the accuracy of his passes. Hart may just have had a bad practice but he overthrew or underthrew receivers on several occasions. Cali was clearly more accurate.
I got to see what this "Radigan" talk was all about.
Let me tell you, this kid can kick. He is a big kid. His 6-5 listing is legit. He uses that size well. On the second kick I saw him hit, the ball went 55 yards in the air from the line of scrimmage and with good hang time. Like I said, the kid can kick. Right now his only problem is consistency. Sometimes he'll "line drive" the ball or kick it off the side of his foot. However, when he hits it right on, he is awesome. He'll understudy for a year behind Matt Barr (who was kicking 50 yarders in practice) but Radigan will be the Rutgers punter for the four succeeding years.
You could "make book" on that prediction.