Reporting Day for Scarlet Knights

PISCATAWAY, N.J.— Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano emerged from the Hale Center in a polo shirt, shorts and flip flops. It's time for football training camp.

As players shuffled between their cars and the Scarlet Knights' training facilities for room assignments, schedules and pre-practice suggestions, Schiano addressed the media.

"I don't know. I don't really think about that stuff much," Schiano told reporters and cameramen about his expectations for the beginning of camp. "I'm just excited to get going. I really like our team, I like our guys, I like our staff. Maybe I'm naïve that way. I can't wait to get going."

One reporter inquired about overcoming the loss of running back Ray Rice, who left early for the NFL.

"I think every year is different," Schiano said. "With a great player like Ray moving onto the National Football League, I think we have a void there. I think the neat part about college football is you get a chance to shuffle it up a little bit. It's neat for me to watch the chemistry, the leadership and all that stuff come together, which excites me about this team right now."

Meanwhile, Schiano said all of his players reported on the first day.

That list also includes running back Kordell Young, linebacker Damaso Munoz and defensive back Zaire Kitchen who have recovered from their respective surgeries and are cleared to fully participate in Tuesday's drills.

Schiano expressed benevolent feelings towards Kitchen who has battled knee problems throughout his collegiate career. "When you look at Zaire and what he's been through," Schiano said, "to keep battling like that. He epitomizes what we're about. Whatever happens, keep going. Doctors assured him they've cleaned it all up."

However, not everyone earned roster spots.

"It's always hard because you can only bring 105 to camp, and there's some guys that have trained with you and worked hard with you," Schiano said. "It's part of the numbers crunch.

"It is awfully hard. We have so many good kids in the program that worked their tails off, and some of them that were even here this summer voluntarily. They're all on deck waiting. If something happens where someone leaves camp, then they're in the bullpen waiting and that's a testament to them."

Schedule:

Schiano said his team will practice in jerseys and helmets for two days, then add shoulder pads for two days. The fifth day will be full contact. The Knights will have their first scrimmage one week from Wednesday.

Regarding being back:

"The guys come back," Schiano said of his players. "They're jacked up. The coaches are ready to go, and then you have that first meeting, and everyone is rearing to go and then you get into camp. Pretty soon it's the grind of camp. Your guys are tired, the coaches are tired. I always say, summer is when your players come together and training camp your whole organization comes together. We're in the thick of it now.

"It comes back to the first word in our program. That's trust. We've mapped out what they do from now until that kickoff against Fresno State. It's spelled out. Every day has a page of its own. They look at that page, breakfast this time, meetings this time. It's pretty good until the rest of the season."

Food will be served in makeshift tents set up in the parking lot adjacent to the Hale Center.

Depth Development:

Schiano said he would like to name a starting running back by opening week, but felt confident about "their unique skill-sets."

He praised Mason Robinson and Jourdan Brooks' spring training sessions. "Mason had a great spring. Jordan brings a different dimension. It would be interesting how it unfolds."

When asked about the offensive line, Schiano said they're solid, indicating no changes from spring.

Defensively, Schiano said he wants to see progress in the interior D-line.

Position Switches:

After switching to defensive tackle, Jamaal Westerman will return to defensive end. Schiano said Blair Bines and Alex Silvestro will alternate in the interior or three-technique position.

"We have a battle going there," Schiano said. "We're gonna mix some things up, take a look at some guys, see how it goes, experiment a bit, Blair Bines is gonna move over at three-technique, Silvestro, move Westerman back out to end. We won't let this gone for too long, a week to ten days until first scrimmage and then we'll go from there.

"Usually, we're ten to twelve days out and then we're locking in on our first game. We have some time here."

The linebacking crew welcomed back Munoz. He will compete with Ryan D'Imperio in the middle. Manny Abreu will start as the strongside linebacker.

Whispers around the Hale Center:

Schiano said he's excited to see Silvestro who added 20 pounds in the off season.

"You look at Alex. He's transformed himself, he's 250 pounds," Schiano said. "George (Johnson) looks great. A lot of guys look really good."

Schiano added tight end Kevin Brock and fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Teel to that list. Practice Fields:

Schiano also briefly tackled whether his team will compete overwhelmingly in the stadium or on the side fields.

"It's 15 degrees hotter in (Rutgers Stadium). Especially early in camp I like to harden our football team," Schiano said.


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