Spring Practice #3 Notebook

Rutgers Head Football Coach Greg Schiano addressed the media after the Knights first spring practice after the team had a week off for spring break. He touched on the competitions at back up QB, RB and DT, but said the real competition will begin to heat up starting this upcoming Thursday.

In Rutgers' first practice after spring break, Head Coach Greg Schiano said the team looked good and he was impressed since it usually takes a practice or two for them to get back in the swing of things.

"I was real pleased, [but we] certainly we have a long way to go," Schiano said. "I was real pleased because when we come back from breaks it takes a couple days to get us back in line. They were really good today in terms of focus. We have miles to go, but I was pleased with the focus."

It's certain that fifth year senior Mike Teel will be the starting quarterback, the backup quarterback situation is interesting.

Red shirt junior Jabu Lovelace has the most game experience and it looks to have the best shot of the group after getting to showcase his skills when Teel was sidelined with an injury.

Lovelace will be battling it out with red shirt juniors Andrew DePaola, Domenic Natale, red shirt sophomore Chris Paul-Etienne and newly acquired freshman Steve Shimko out of Ewing High School.

With so many guys gunning to be second on the depth chart, Schiano has had to extend practice to make sure everyone gets their fair share of snaps.

"It's a great competition," Schiano said. "Jabu has obviously played in games and done well so I think he has the lead, but there's some real fine prospects at the position and guys that are great competitors, so the hard thing is making sure everyone gets enough reps. As you saw today, we extended the developmental period we're we ran an extra 14 plays to make sure everyone gets enough work."

Who will replace Ray Rice will be one of the hot button issues throughout camp.

The running backs trying to replace the Doak Walker finalist who became the first back to rush for 2,000 yards in one season in Big East history will be Mason Robinson, Joe Martinek, Kordell Young, and Jourdan Brooks.

"All of them look good, but, no one has hit them yet so we'll see," Schiano said. "But they really, as far as some of the things they've done, I'm really impressed."

Guiding the running backs this year will be former NFL back Gary Brown. Being a former player, Schiano feels the former Giants' knowledge of the game will be an asset for his team.

"[Brown and the players] seem to be developing a real good chemistry. He's played the position, understands the position inside and out and the kids appreciate that."

Once the Knights strap on the pads on Thursday, Schiano will be able to get a better read on the defensive line.

"I think the guys are working hard," he said. "We're not in pads, and O-line and D-line are two of the biggest positions that we need the pads on to see who can play at a higher level. The young guys are getting accustomed to what we're doing better."

The players are excited to finally get the chance to go full pads for the first time on Thursday, and it will be then when the real competition begins.

"The game is played with contact as we all know, you know there are some football players that look good in shirts and helmets because they don't hit, so the game definitely changes," Schiano said. "The kids are excited because we went a week, then had a break, so we didn't hit yet."

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