Transcript of the Tom Luicci Chat

SOR most frequent chat room guest columnist Tom Luicci answers questions ranging from the 2008 concerns, a possible new basketball arena, Rutgers football in the top 25, Big East expansion and many others.

Tom Luicci Chat 5-7-2008

The Defensive Tackle Situation

<bigdog77> The first was "Defensive Tackle situation - Does Francis have a prayer of being on the team and if so
has he been keeping up with individual training?
<TomLuicci> based on what i was told, francis does have a chance -- albeit a small one -- to someday return
<TomLuicci> you have to wait for the legal system to run its course first
<TomLuicci> as far as training, he would have to do that on his own since he was separated from the team
<bigdog77> "someday" -- not next season?
<TomLuicci> so there's no way to monitor that
<TomLuicci> it all depends on the legal system
<TomLuicci> i don't think it hurt Greg's case with the new APR report
<TomLuicci> it shows what he is doing on the academic side
<TomLuicci> you're more inclined to allow a guy to take a chance when that happens
<TomLuicci> and i think Greg really likes Justin as a young man and wants him back

The injury situation

<bigdog77> #2 - Injuries - How are Davis, Kitchen, Johnson, Haslam, and Young coming along? -- Any others of
<TomLuicci> and i think Greg really likes Justin as a young man and wants him back
<TomLuicci> Davis was minor
<TomLuicci> no surgery
<TomLuicci> kitchen is supposed to be back late in the summer
<TomLuicci> hard to tell with him since he has been through this so many times
<TomLuicci> haslam had stuff cleaned up, Greg said nothing major
<TomLuicci> young looks great. i spoke to him after the spring game.
<TomLuicci> he was about two or three weeks away from being able to go again at that time
<TomLuicci> i'd have to check on georg
<TomLuicci> george johnson, sorry

On Eric LeGrand & LB depth

<DaveSNJ> Tom hello and thank you for your time - what position do you see Legrand playing, do you think he has
a chance to make the 2 deep
<TomLuicci> well, if he can be a defensive lineman, yes
<TomLuicci> at linebacker he may have to wait
<TomLuicci> although there are some backup spots there
<TomLuicci> damaso will be back, and manny abreu looked very good in the spring
<TomLuicci> malast and d'imperio are locked in
<TomLuicci> lowery is coming on, bines and quaye are still around
<TomLuicci> so it might be a little more difficult at LB
<TomLuicci> but if he can play DE, it means westerman can stay at tackle

Who is the 3rd starting LB?

<RuRuuuu> Who do you see taking that 3rd lb spot?
<TomLuicci> which side Ru?
<TomLuicci> oh on the strong side?
<TomLuicci> i think Damaso will open as the starter if he is healthy
<TomLuicci> but if Abreu keeps coming on he will play a lot
<TomLuicci> damaso does have experience and that will be important in the first two games

On the chemistry of the Offensive.

<ruprincess> One of our members asked me to ask about your thoughts on the "chemistry" of the O line. :)
<TomLuicci> i think kyle flood makes the chemistry
<RuRuuuu> Thanks. Yeah, the fresno state game will say a lot on how our season will go.
<TomLuicci> he is an excellent line coach, as his track record proves
<TomLuicci> i am not sure the line is settled yet
<TomLuicci> i can see forst playing a major role after the first third of the season, the way davis did last year
<TomLuicci> i was suprirsed Greg was kind of down on ruch after the spring
<TomLuicci> he had said so many good things about hom before it

On Keith Newell

<DaveSNJ> Is Newell on the offensive side of the ball?
<TomLuicci> yes, i believe newell was switched to offense
<TomLuicci> i'm pretty sure of that
<TomLuicci> if they could ever develop him ... he's got great size

Defensive Back depth

<bigdog77> Another one - CB depth - Brandon Bing seemed to have a pretty decent spring game. Who else will
be challenging for some playing time(Hutchins, Anderson, Alexis, Rashad White or other freshman maybe)?
<TomLuicci> cornerback is thin
<TomLuicci> bing and billy anderson are the backups now
<TomLuicci> not sure if freshman david rowe will get a shot there


<DaveSNJ> Keeping with bigdog's line of question - do you know if White is qualified or expected to qualify?
<TomLuicci> i have not heard that yet. as we broke the spring, Greg said he expected all of the freshmen to
<TomLuicci> also, i forgot on the DL -- Scott Vallone may start next to Tverdov when he arrives if Westerman goes

Kicking & Punt Return

<PWayFred> Kick & Punt return - Is Kenny Britt seriously a candidate for PR? - If so, is that a wise move
considering his importance to the offense?
<TomLuicci> kenny thinks he is
<TomLuicci> i don't have a problem with it. he has great hands and breakaway ability
<TomLuicci> i like the idea of getting the ball into his hands as much as possble
<TomLuicci> if you have a great athlete, get the most out of him that you can
<TomLuicci> plus, i think kenny really enjoys it
<Hdeljerz> I would think Underwood would be better at returning

The Fullback Position

<DaveSNJ> I thought last year Morales did a good job at FB. I read that Corcoran had a solid Spring, who is
number 1 going into the Summer?
<TomLuicci> well, since he worked there the whole spring, i would think if they are serious about it he will start
there in the summer
<TomLuicci> Underwood is better at kickoff returns
<TomLuicci> different type of players
<TomLuicci> right now, it appears corcoran is back at the fullback starting spot

Robinson Alexis at CB

<tappan1> how is alexis coming along at cb
<TomLuicci> slowly tappan. he's athletic and quick, but he needs work there
<TomLuicci> the sprin wasn't a very good barometer of things. to many key guys were hurt
<TomLuicci> the spring
<TomLuicci> pardon the typos. too many

More on the DL

<Hdeljerz> How are the DTs coming along. If you covered it nevermind.
<TomLuicci> i did, but i keep hearing great things about vallone
<TomLuicci> i also believe pete tverdov is going to have a very good year

On the redshirt freshmen

<DaveSNJ> out of all of he redshirt frosh who do you think will make an impact this season?
<RuRuuuu> Do you see Keith Stroud emerging as the fourth or even third reciever this year?
<TomLuicci> he has really developed
<TomLuicci> first stroud. i think he took a step back late in the spring. campbell and tim brown will be three and
four. then you have julian hayes. stroud has some work to do
<TomLuicci> the redshirt frosh? it would have to be caleb ruch if he starts at right guard

Tim Brown

<PWayFred> Since we didn't get a chance to see Timmy Brown in the spring game, is there a chance that Stroud
Campbell or Hayes show up ahead of him come summer camp?
<TomLuicci> no, timmy has done his penance. he's fine now

Tim Wright

<tappan1> do you think timothy wright can help this year
<TomLuicci> it will be tough for a freshman to break in at WR on this team
<DaveSNJ> that is good to hear abouth 'TD' Brown
<TomLuicci> he will be fine
<TomLuicci> and if dennis campbell continues to play well, the receivers are set

Justin Francis

<Hdeljerz> Well I'm sure you have already answered this, but what do ou hear about Francis Tom?
<TomLuicci> he has a small chance to be back Hd. let's see what happens when the legal system runs its course

Kenny Britt

<RuRuuuu> With another strong year do you see kenny britt leaving after this season and do you see the staff
start trying to groom another reciever this season
<TomLuicci> it's just a guess on kenny. but if he has a breakout year, he could go. but if greg convinces him to
stay, he could be a first round pick
<TomLuicci> that's a tough call sometimes. brian brohm would have been better to come out after his junior year
<TomLuicci> it depends on the player i think
<DaveSNJ> Britt certainly had the physical tools to land in the first round
<TomLuicci> i agree
<RuRuuuu> Personally the only wr i think is better than britt at this point is crabtree from texas tech

More on Eric LeGrand

<PWayFred> How about LB... specifically Eric Legrand: Do you think he'll be able to make the rotation?
<TomLuicci> he still needs to work on a very things but he is extremely talented
<TomLuicci> scroll up Pway

On Desmond Stapleton & Richard Muldrow

<tappan1> how are the young ol doing ie:stapleton and muldrow
<TomLuicci> stapleton and muldrow finally look the part
<TomLuicci> i think stapleton is a bit ahead of muldrow, but he is behind AD now
<TomLuicci> maybe if he develops more they move desmond to RT
<TomLuicci> someone will have to spell Gilmartin

Art Forst

<TomLuicci> maybe Forst, though
<Hdeljerz> 1,0Was Forst better than expected this spring?
<TomLuicci> i thought he was solid. he needs to get stronger, but he is a bright young man
<TomLuicci> he picks up things in a hurry
<TomLuicci> so it becomes a physical thing after that

On the teams biggest concerns

<ruprincess> What are your biggest concerns about the team?
<TomLuicci> i still think you have to worry about the O-line, the depth at D-Line and at corner
<TomLuicci> I'm not sure Teel will come out a lot, but Jabu can run the whole offense now

Safety battle between Lefeged & Lee

<DaveSNJ> I don't know if this has been answered but who leads at Safety between Lefeged and Lee?
<TomLuicci> coming out of the spring, it looked like Lee led
<TomLuicci> but lefeged will play a lot. he may wind up as the starter
<TomLuicci> summer is when we will know. the spring is about experimenting and fundamentals
<RuRuuuu> I hope its lefeged. Lee had a lot of blown coverages and missed tackles last season
<TomLuicci> i think Khaseem Greene may join the safety mix too when he gets here

Jabu Lovelace

<DaveSNJ> RE Jabu it just seemed at time last year the staff didn't trust him to run the O, did it have anything to
do about knowing the O
<TomLuicci> i think Jabu knows the whole offense now. he didn't have any experience going into last year so you
have to proceed cautiously with a QB like that
<TomLuicci> that shouldn't be the case this year

The new coaches

<RuRuuuu> How are the new coaches?
<TomLuicci> the new coaches seem like a good group. i have had the chance to meet all of them
<TomLuicci> i think special teams will show a major improvement under chris rippon

Backup QB situation

<DaveSNJ> I last connection so if it was answered I apologize but how did Pierre-Etienne look this Spring?
<TomLuicci> i am not sure his arm strength was back yet in the spring
<TomLuicci> pierre-etienne has one of those arms that amazes you. but he has no experience and he is still
learning the offense
<TomLuicci> he's a great athlete. he can throw the ball a mile
<TomLuicci> but he wasn't very consistent in the spring
<TomLuicci> he's young, though. he just needs time
<TomLuicci> i think he may get caught in between teel and savage despite his athletic ability

Tight End

<tappan1> how are the te looking
<TomLuicci> brock looks like a big-time tight end
<TomLuicci> Graves was okay in the spring. Ruiz was quiet. McGovern will be this year's Rudonovic

The team to beat in the Big East

<TomLuicci> i think wvu is still the team to beat
<TomLuicci> south florida could be a top 10 team -- and may be the best in the league at the end of the year
<TomLuicci> i don't think uconn catches lightning in a bottle again
<TomLuicci> and i have to see for myself before i believ pitt is for real

DC Jefferson

<DaveSNJ> From what Ive read it seems like the staff doesn't expect DC Jefferson to make an early impact, is this
<TomLuicci> it appears DC will redshirt. he is going to be far behind the htree guys ahead of him
<TomLuicci> plus, everyone tells me he is raw. atlented but raw

Screen pass in the offense

<PWayFred> Has there been any mention of incorporating more screens (WR and RB) this year until the running
game proves itself?
<TomLuicci> PWay, no one has talked about that. but i really believe the running game will be fine
<TomLuicci> there might be three guys who gain 600 yards instead of one who gets 1800 or 2000
<TomLuicci> it serves the same purpose

Biggest Rivalry in the Big East

<Hdeljerz> 1,0Tom could you see the Rutgers-UConn series becoming one of the league's best rivaly games?
<TomLuicci> i think pitt-wvu will always be the top rivalry game. rutgers-uconn has a chance to be good because
of all of the obvious factors

Notre Dame

<TomLuicci> notre who?
<TomLuicci> oh, the 3-9 team under charlie weis last year?
<TomLuicci> let notre dame figure out how to beat navy again
<TomLuicci> notre dame has gone the penn state route. insignificant
<Hdeljerz> 1,0What was the behind the scenes reaction to ND's demands?
<TomLuicci> rutgers was adamant about not giving in
<TomLuicci> it would have undermined the whole purpose behind stadium expansion
<TomLuicci> and more money will be needed in the future. you can't do that
<ruprincess> good for us!
<TomLuicci> if uconn wants to sell its soul to nd, let them
<TomLuicci> i mean, we're talking about a team that hasn't won a bowl game since -- when? -- 1994?
<Hdeljerz> 1,0What was the behind the scenes reaction to ND's demands?
<PWayFred> Where is the Meadowlands management's stance on the scheduling 2 teams from outside of the
area to play there (at some point)
<TomLuicci> if it makes money the meadowlands will do it
<TomLuicci> they have a $1 billion stadium with only 16 games

Rutgers in the Top 25

<DaveSNJ> Athlon is in the process of releasing their top 25, RU was pegged at #22. I can see why #22 but I can
also argue against a top 25 ranking what do you think
<TomLuicci> i actually did the rutgers preview for athlon (but don't tell anyone)
<tappan1> let them play uconn in new england
<TomLuicci> i did not recommend a top 25 ranking or recommend all big east picks
<TomLuicci> if rutgers gets past the first two games, who knows?
<TomLuicci> pitt does nothing for me
<TomLuicci> uconn should have lost to temple and louisville and been 7-6
<TomLuicci> it's only wvu, with a new coach, and south florida, which is loaded with talent but can implode at any
<PWayFred> touching on WVU how much does the loss of Owen Schmitt hurt them if at all?
<TomLuicci> plus at usf the wives get to write the papers for the players. that always helps

Rutgers in the Big Ten?

<metallo> Tom, if it was your decision, would you accept an invite to the Big Ten if Rutgers was invited?
<TomLuicci> probably, yes
<TomLuicci> because if rutgers doesn;t take the spot, someone will
<TomLuicci> i know syracuse and pitt would if offered. so why not rutgers?
<metallo> Only reason why I would take the invite. Someone else will.

Fabian Ruiz at TE

<tmase1> do you think fabian ruiz will be able to be a solid starting tight end in 09, if not what is the plan?
<TomLuicci> hard to tell with ruiz yet. he was hurt last year and then in the spring we hardly saw him

The Secondary

<RUinBRWDCNTY> Tom what about the depth in the secondary? Who do you see as the backups at S and CB and
how do they look.
<TomLuicci> depth in the secondary is a concern. rutgers is thin at cb. safety should be fine

Mike Teel & the NFL

<TomLuicci> i think mike will definitely get a shot in the nfl
<TomLuicci> he has size, a decent arm and he is a football guy
<TomLuicci> he loves studying film. he knows every aspect of the offense
<TomLuicci> teams like QBs like that
<TomLuicci> notre who?
<TomLuicci> oh, the 3-9 team under charlie weis last year?
<TomLuicci> if he doesn't star, mike can wear headsets in the nfl for a long time. he is that kind of player and

Big East Expansion

<tappan1> big east needs to exspand one team for football, the scheduling was a mess this year
<TomLuicci> the coaches want one more in football
<TomLuicci> but how do you do that without adding a 17th for basketball?
<TomLuicci> maybe kick out notre dame?
<TomLuicci> or get navy to be a part-time member for football only?

Freeny at DE

<natale> How does the kid Freeny look on defense?
<TomLuicci> freeny is going to play a lot
<TomLuicci> he is in the middle of the rotation at DE. he will play
<Hdeljerz> 1,0He was a steal
<TomLuicci> he has a lot of potential, i agree

Caleb Ruch

<tmase1> schiano was very critical of ruch, what were his main issues this spring? Do you expect him to be solid?
<TomLuicci> the ruch thing was interesting to me
<TomLuicci> my theory is that he didn't make the jump greg expected, so he is trying to light a fire under him
<TomLuicci> he does that a lot with players. doesn't want them to feel they are entitled to start or to get too comfortable
<TomLuicci> ruch will be fine in the summer, i bet
<TomLuicci> they saw something in him to elevate him to a starter this soon
<TomLuicci> so he will be fine. he has a good work ethic

Sturdivant's departure

<tappan1> what happened with sturdivant
<TomLuicci> not sure why studivant left
<TomLuicci> we were never told the full story

Rutgers on National Television

<RuRuuuu> You see any other games shown on national television?
<DaveSNJ> I am sure you've been asked this a gazillion times, if PSU were to knock how much does Schiano listen or even jump
<TomLuicci> it's weird, because i thought he was going to play and maybe start
<TomLuicci> i see games all of the time Ru. i love college football. i can watch oklahoma state-texas tech at 10 p.m. on saturday
after working
<TomLuicci> i love watching the late pac-10 games

Who will be Rutgers' first 1st round pick?

<natale> Tom, who do you think will be Rutgers first first round pick?
<TomLuicci> rutgers' first first round pick will either be kenny britt or anthony davis
<TomLuicci> no WRs went in the first round this year though

Progress of the young OLs

<metallo> Where does Muldrow fair with the other lineman? Is he progressing?
<TomLuicci> muldrow has made progress. rutgers has a lot of players like him -- promising but inecperienced. that's why howard
barbieri is so valuable
<TomLuicci> muldrow, stapleton, mo lange, forst,
<TomLuicci> mo lange

Rutgers NFL perception

<DaveSNJ> Does RU still have a long way to go re perception with NFL teams
<DaveSNJ> I would have thought we would have seen another Scarlet Knight drafted
<TomLuicci> i think the NFL teams like Rutgers kids. they aren't problems, they're almost all team oriented and they don't shy away
from hard work
<TomLuicci> pedro would have been drafted if not for his knee surgery
<TomLuicci> i don't think many of them ar cbs
<TomLuicci> maybe rowe

More on the secondary

<PWayFred> you mentioned Khaseem Greene before... Is he the most likely freshman who could be the right guy at the right time
to see some time outside of specials?
<Hdeljerz> 1,0Tom have you heard anything about kids probably not making it to camp this summer?
<TomLuicci> scott vallone is the freshman most likely to have an impact right away from what the coaches are saying
<TomLuicci> no hd, but i haven't spoken to greg since before the derby either
<TomLuicci> i will check in with him soon
<DaveSNJ> It seems that over the past couple of seasons CB had been a position of need but hard to fill
<TomLuicci> he needs to bust my chops about my horrible derby pick
<TomLuicci> i agree dave. but they do have two nice starting corners now
<DaveSNJ> do you know why it seems we are having a hard time getting quality corners to RU
<TomLuicci> roberson was good when he was there too
<TomLuicci> i'm not sure they have had any more difficulty than any other position
<TomLuicci> jason mccoruty will be a three-year starter. devin eventually the same
<TomLuicci> bing looks promising

Recent Rutgers basketball recruiting success

<natale> As a basketball fan, I am finally optimistic with the kids Fred is getting.What do you think Tom?
<TomLuicci> i think freddie hill will be fine in two years
<TomLuicci> one more recruiting class
<TomLuicci> then it will be fun in the winter again at rutgers
<TomLuicci> i don't think any of the new coaches will dramatically change the offense

More on the TEs

<DaveSNJ> re TE one position RU can boast having a tradition, have you heard anything on the recruiting front about TE
<TomLuicci> dave, you guys know more about recruiting than i do. i almost never talk to greg about it. we talk more about current
<TomLuicci> he doesn't usually say much during the recruiting process

More on the coaching additions

<Hdeljerz> 1,0Has the addition of a former offensive mind from Delaware changed the offense at all?
<TomLuicci> i think chris rippon is a good coach
<TomLuicci> that's one reason

Improvements on special teams?

<DaveSNJ> Tom you mentioned earlier you believe we will see a vast improvement with specials this year
<TomLuicci> having tim brown back and healthy, an improved dennis campbell, tiquan is proven as KR and maybe if britt is a PR
<TomLuicci> Te will be fine
<TomLuicci> Dellaganna looks like he will be solid
<TomLuicci> so i think specials will be much better
<TomLuicci> the main thing is there won't be a huge dropoff from ito. they have a promising PK in Te
<TomLuicci> yes, te will do kickoffs as well
<TomLuicci> he gets them inside the 10

Expansion of the football Stadium and possible basketball arena

<Hdeljerz> 1,0Tom, with the Nets leaving for Brooklyn, the Giants and Jets being very expensive, and Rutgers football and
1,0basketball improving do you think we will see an explosion in interest in Rutgers athletics in the next five years?
<TomLuicci> the stadium will be a little messy in the end zone, that's all
<TomLuicci> everything else should be donme
<TomLuicci> if there is an explosion Hd, i hope rutgers has the leadership to take advantage of it
<TomLuicci> they need a new basketball arena
<TomLuicci> the stadium looks as if it will be nice, so that's a start
<TomLuicci> greg and i were talking a few weeks ago about the parking situation
<TomLuicci> he is involved in everything
<DaveSNJ> There was some talk about a new arena downtown but it looks like it died, is it still alive
<TomLuicci> i don't think it's dead yet
<TomLuicci> it needs to be revived, that's all
<TomLuicci> they may have to build it around george zoffinger in new brunswick
<TomLuicci> they may make parts of river road one way during games this year
<TomLuicci> that is under discussion
<TomLuicci> the truck drivers will hate it but football fans will love it

2008 season prediction

<bigdog77> what is your prediction for the 2008 season?
<TomLuicci> i am thinking 8-4 right now -- but so much depends on the first two games
<TomLuicci> october is a killer month for rutgers
<TomLuicci> getting out of that 2-2 will be tough
<TomLuicci> october is really tough

More on concerns

<redlinehw> what area of the team(offense,defense etc) concerns you the most?
<TomLuicci> it's still the offensive line
<TomLuicci> he needs to stay healthy too
<TomLuicci> and maybe get a little stronger. but i like him
<TomLuicci> he is a terrific young man
<redlinehw> Gilmartin?
<TomLuicci> gilmartin will start, but sometimes role players are role players for a reason
<redlinehw> I think Ruch ends up a good player

Thoughts on Cincy

<DaveSNJ> Is Cincy a team to be concerned about, are they going to be good this year?
<TomLuicci> there's always someone who is a little better. maybe forst will be that
<TomLuicci> cincy can go either way without mauk and the two DBs gone
<TomLuicci> they're one of those 6-6 teams i think

Thoughts on Navy

<tappan1> what about navy
<TomLuicci> at navy. never easy
<redlinehw> UCONN?
<TomLuicci> the offense won't chanmge even with a new coach
<TomLuicci> uconn should have been 7-6 last year
<TomLuicci> with a soft schedule
<TomLuicci> they are good defensively but too vanilla on offense
<TomLuicci> if you play mistake free football, you beat them

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