The first Rutgers Touchdown Club meeting will be Thursday night
September 5th at 7pm at the Hale Center. Doors open at 6pm. The Event is open to all Touchdown Club members. If you are not a member you can join that night. Looking forward to a great first meeting and a successful 2002 season.
Hamstring injuries to starting wide receivers Aaron Martin and Tres Moses, as well as to All-Big East tight end L.J. Smith, have taken a toll on Rutgers' offense. That much was evident in last Friday's scrimmage, when the first-team offense failed to score and offensive coordinator Bill Cubit estimated there were as many as 10 dropped passes.
Injuries provide underclassmen chance to shine
He's got the bloodlines to be a star. And he's got the background of a star. But inherited worth is the last thing his coach thinks of when he looks at him.
"Ryan Neill is a self-made football player," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said of his sophomore defensive end. "He's one of the hardest working kids I've ever seen."
The son of former Giants nose tackle Bill Neill and younger brother of a Division I field hockey player Ryan Neill would seem to have the family legacy to guarantee athletic success. Even his mother is a former athlete, but it's Neill's inheritance from her that relegated the family legacy to being inconsequential.
Hard work paying off
Hackensack's Bryan Wilson continues to impress. After redshirting last year, the diminutive sophomore (5 feet 9, 190 pounds) keeps giving the coaching staff reasons to call his number. Wilson had two solid receptions Tuesday morning before making the play of the day on a one-handed, over-the-shoulder grab with junior corner Nate Jones hanging all over him. Coming off the arm of starting quarterback Ryan Cubit, the reception was good for a score in the 7-on-7 drill.
"You can't deny production," Schiano said of his plans for Wilson. "He's not the fastest guy, but he's making plays, and in the end that's all that matters."
Sal Fama. The freshman linebacker may have been playing with only the fourth team and he may have been facing only the walk-on quarterback, but his one-handed pick of a Brian Boland quick-release pass was so pretty, the competition didn't matter. Fama's skip down to the end zone was especially fun to watch - it's good to know the coaching staff's insistence on focus extends all the way down the food chain.
For as long as they've been playing football, which is as long as either one can remember, Marty and Greg Pyszczymuka always have worked side by side on the same defense line, partners in the same trenches. It was that way from the time they were very young, through high school and then for two years at Rutgers when Marty, the younger brother by 19 months, was first reunited with Greg.
So they didn't know quite what to make of the situation they found themselves in when they were lined up against each other during an early Rutgers football practice last summer. Marty Pyszczymuka, now a 6-2, 275-pound junior, had just been switched from defense to guard to shore up the offensive line -- he's now the Knights' starting center -- and Greg was at his usual tackle spot, with this fall marking his third year as a starter on the defensive line.
A brotherhood on the line
The buzz: The players reported to the afternoon practice session in full pads and began stretching before suddenly having their routine interrupted by an announcement from head coach Greg Schiano. Practice was off, Schiano said, and he was taking them to a rec pool in South Plainfield so they could spend the rest of the day swimming instead. The news drew an enthusiastic response -- just as it did a year ago, when Schiano pulled the same surprise on the team. "They knew it was coming, they just didn't know when," he said.
A day at Rutgers camp
The reverse play, slow to develop, wasn't fooling anyone and Rutgers freshman wideout Corey Barnes found himself on the wrong end of a hit from backup linebacker Ishmael Medley. The 5-foot-8, 165-pounder sailed sideways through the air before smacking the ground, rolling over and springing to his feet.
Preseason football camp is a school of hard knocks for rookie receivers, especially for converted high school quarterbacks like Barnes who get crash courses in running routes and taking collisions.
Lucky for him he's getting plenty of support, even from guys like Medley who offer insights from defensive perspectives.
Rutgers' Barnes playing like a seasoned veteran at training camp
Greg Schiano is happy with the progress Rutgers is making in its preseason camp, despite the fact that injuries seem to be a regular occurrence for the Scarlet Knights. "The injuries put things back in that guys that we're counting on as playmakers aren't getting work," Schiano said. "It's enabled other guys to step to the forefront and get better. ... But (injuries) are going to have an effect on the game. That's where my concern is."
Injuries hitting Rutgers hard this preseason
The Scarlet Knights' offense revolves around sophomore QB Ryan Cubit, redshirt freshman tailback Clarence Pittman and senior tight end L.J. Smith. Cubit completed only 44.8 percent of his passes and threw 19 interceptions plus nine TD passes. But he was pounded about every time he went back to pass. Cubit proved his toughness, gained the respect of his teammates and has a chance to develop into a decent quarterback.
Mountaineers must ride Cobourne
On Friday, August 9th, I had the opportunity to attend the Rutgers Football Kick-Off Celebration. In addition to the Rutgers football players, there were a number of the Rutgers prospects .
Rutgers Football Kick-Off Celebration
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6. Bergen Catholic, Oradell, (10-2). Returning starters: 15. The scoop: RBs Joe Sandberg (1,605 yards, 27 TDs) and Erik Dezelan lead running game. QB Brian Saverino (1,620 passing yards, 18 TDs) throws to WRs Marco Santini and Jon Poppe and TEs Jamaal Jones and Sam Johnson. Two-way tackles Mark Ciarvirella (6-4, 270) and Rick Bencivenni (6-4, 265) are three-year starters. Opens: Sept. 14 vs. Passaic.
USA TODAY's Preseason Top 25 High School Football Poll
Around the Nation
Plenty of college football fans like to ask, "What have you done for me lately?" This season, they'll see what some players can do for their teams early very early.
USA TODAY has found at least nine freshmen who graduated from high school last December, entered college in January, took part in spring practice and have impressed coaches enough that they're likely to play right away. They are part of a rare but growing group of players who accelerate their graduation to enroll in college in time for spring practice.
Accelerated start benefits gridiron freshmen
Where are they now?
Fullback Darian Barnes finds himself in an enviable postion.
Though he's still playing catch-up with the playbook, he has made enough of an impression on coach Jim Fassel that he and fellow rookie Charles Stackhouse are locked in a fight for the departed Greg Comella's starting spot.
Stackhouse will start Saturday against the Jets as part of an even-time split. Barnes started last week in Atlanta and had a so-so game, while Stackhouse had one catch for 23 yards.
Barnes, Stackhouse in a Giant battle
Donald "Big Dog" Forbes: BigDog@Rutgersfootball.com