Ti praising offense, defense

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Repeating 1,000-yard campaigns for wide receivers requires tenacity, versatility and a football acumen. For Rutgers' Tiquan Underwood, the feat may come naturally.

Tiquan Underwood displayed a timely exhibit of strength and endurance last season en route to 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns thanks to the gutsy arm of Mike Teel.

"I thought things went well," the senior wideout said after Wednesday's first scrimmage of training camp. "We came out pretty strong. The offense was moving the ball throughout the day. We're just gonna look at the tape, correct our mistakes and go from there."

It also helps to line up next to junior receiver Kenny Britt, another potential deep threat in Teel's arsenal.

Meanwhile, Underwood and Britt have developed a bond throughout their experience as members of the Scarlet Knights.

"That's great," Underwood said of his relationship with Britt. "We're roommates right now. We're always together and we just try to push each other to get better each and every day just to stay focused. And that's what we did today."

Although Rutgers Football Head Coach Greg Schiano expressed frustration with his first team defense afterwards, (see Rutgers First Scrimmage) credit Underwood who has earned respect from around the league and developed into an NFL-caliber receiver.

He humbly praised the defense, which confronts Britt and himself, two of the nation's premiere receivers, throughout practice.

"The defense looked well," Underwood said. "We got on top of them early, but they responded and played strong in the second half of the scrimmage. We go against great players. It's a constant battle because both sides have great players."

Although the Scarlet Knights return Ti, as he is commonly referred to, and Britt for 2008, they graduated three of their offensive linemen in 2007.

"It's very important," Ti said of the team's responsibility to protect Teel in the pocket. "We have some young guys stepping up on the line, some new faces. I think they did well today. There were minor setbacks here and there but overall, the offensive line played great. We're just going to fix our mistakes and get better as an offensive unit."

Tailback Ray Rice's early departure also leaves over 2,000 yards that need to be replaced from the backfield position. Adjusting to the potential replacements' running patterns may take time for Underwood, but he readies himself.

"We're getting used to it," he said. "As you block for different running backs, you see what cuts they make, how fast they get on top of you."

"It just comes with reps, and as those guys get more reps, we'll get more comfortable with them."

The Knights may not feel comfortable yet with backs Mason Robinson's or Kordell Young's rawness and inexperience, but they remain a veteran team behind Teel's arm and Ti's wisdom, knowledge and impact.

That may be just enough to elevate them towards national championship contention.

"It's great," Ti said of competing during his fourth and final year of eligibility On the Banks. "I enjoyed every single second at Rutgers and I'm going to enjoy this last ride."


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