Spring Practice #2 Notebook

The weather did get better the second time around. It was a touch warmer and a touch more sun greeted the Rutgers Football Scarlet Knights during the second day of spring practice. Coach Schiano talked about the second day of practice, including a couple of players that are catching his attention.

"It was much like the first day," stated Rutgers Head Football Coach Greg Schiano in reference to the second spring practice of spring camp, and the last before spring break.  "There was good energy, good enthusiasm. You add a little more offense, defense, special teams, there's more margin for error, mistakes.  We made our share.  As long as they keep working hard, like they are, we'll get better."

Fundamentals are the priority this go-around, very much unlike what goes on during summer practice, when movement up or down the depth chart is much more closely scrutinized. Consequently, direct comparison to previous years is not readily made. 

"I think it's kind of early [to make a direct comparison to, say, day two of spring camp last year].  You're still installing stuff and they still have no pads," stated Coach Schiano.  Indeed this group is different than last year's group, with entirely new veterans, new youngsters coming into the mix.  The focus, therefore, is on making sure all are on the same page rather than who gets what number of carries with a particular unit.

However, that isn't to suggest that a few players haven't approached the spring with renewed enthusiasm.  Dennis Campbell, the Jr. WR by way of Plantation HS, in FL, who fans will recall made the all-important two-point reception versus then #3 Louisville, saw most of his action on special teams in 2007.  Campbell is trying to make a move up the depth chart, into a crowded group of talented wideouts.  "He's had a good two days. He's worked very hard this off-season," stated Coach Schiano.

Another skill player making noise is the 6-foot-3 and 190-pound true Fr. Keith Stroud, by way of Fork Union Military Academy.  Stroud possesses a long and lean body and has always displayed a pair of mittens that make cornerbacks green with envy.  After the second day of practice, Coach Schiano took notice of Stroud's performance.

"He really is a clean catcher. By that, I mean, he's a snatch-pluck catcher. He's not a body catcher. He's got tremendously big hands. Talent-wise, you could see why he was so heavily recruited."

Rutgers Football is now one entire week into Spring practice.  However, the schedule gets a little quirky with spring break dividing the camp session into a pair of unequal parts.  For the players, it's an opportunity to go home, meet friends and family, and rest.  All the while keeping in mind the family they are now a part of - the Rutgers Football family.

"As I tell them anytime. You're Rutgers Football 365. Just because you go home on break doesn't mean you're not still Rutgers Football.  It's a great privilege to be a part of it so you have to respect it. I think that this group will do alright," said Coach Schiano.

Matei may be reached at mgeorge@rutgersfootball.com

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