Teel has the ultimate goal in mind

QB Mike Teel is entering his final season and spring practices are a time for him to work on some mechanics and get this year's offense in motion. While the team will have some key holes to fill on an offense that set numerous records last year, he will still have his top three receivers returning and is looking forward to seeing how things progress through the remainder of the spring.

Fifth year senior Mike Teel is back for his final year under center for the Scarlet Knights and this year's spring practices have a different feel to him than his previous three.

"I'm an old man around here, it's different," Teel said. "I have a good feel for the team and it's a good opportunity for this team and myself to get better this spring."

Fundamentals are one of the main things Rutgers looks to focus on during the spring practices. Along with installing the groundwork for this year's offense, Rutgers can use the time to find out what the new squad is all about.

"Spring practice is a time where you can work on getting yourself better individually and as a team and you need to work on instilling the offense from day one," he said. "We need to continue to get better and find out what this `08 team is going to be about."

Coming off a milestone season where he threw for a school record 20 touchdowns and 3,147 yards, just seven yards shy of the single-season record, the former Don Bosco High School standout is using the spring practice's to fine tune certain aspects of his game.

"My footwork in the pocket," Teel said. "Being able to make all the throws, but making sure the footwork [is right] when [I'm] making all the throws."

After a historic season where the Knights became the first offense ever in the NCAA to have a 3,000 yard passer, 2,000 yard rusher and two receivers reaching 1,000 yards, Rutgers will have to make up for some key losses on that side of the ball.

"We got a lot of work to do obviously," Teel said. "We lose three All Big East linemen, and one of the best running backs in the country. It's a great challenge for us and this is why every guy on this roster is here. It's going to be an exciting spring to watch some spots open up. The offense is going to start to take shape this spring so it's exciting for us."

Who to throw to shouldn't be a problem for Teel as he has three reliable targets in junior Kenny Britt, senior Tiquan Underwood and junior Tim Brown.

"All three of them are different and they work well with each other," Teel said about the trio. "They have different talents that makes it hard to defend them."

Britt, a Second Team All Big East honoree, finished his sophomore campaign with 1,232 yards, which was good for fifth most in Big East history for a single season. He was also second in the Big East with nearly 95 yards per game and it's his not being afraid of taking the hit in the open field that the former three star prospect admires about Britt.

"Kenny he's just a big-time receiver," Teel said. "He's aggressive, he goes up and gets the ball, catches the ball in traffic, and will catch it and break tackles."

While Britt has the single-season record for receiving yards, Underwood finished second with 1,100 and was a First Team All Big East selection.

"Ti is the guy that will run the seam routes," Teel said. "He can do different things to get open."

Playing the slot in between the two 1,000 yard receivers will be the speedster Brown. It's the Miami, Fl. native's ability to make a big play at any time that makes Brown dangerous according to Teel.

"Timmy is just flat out fast so he will blow right by you and go and get it," Teel said.

With this being Teel's final season in Piscataway, the goal is to close the deal and bring a title home to the Garden State.

"[We want to] be the best we can be," he said. "We want to win a Big East Championship and we want to play for a National Championship, and win a National Championship. You have to take it one day at a time and it takes a lot of effort and time and we have guys that are willing to do that."

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