Rutgers Rewind

Rutgers Football is in the middle of pre-season camp of what is perhaps the most anticipated Scarlet Knight football season ever. With coverage of the Scarlet Knights ongoing at a literal frenzy, missing even one day of action may put fans significantly behind the curve when it comes to keeping up with their favorite team. In this edition of Rutgers Rewind, SOR recaps this past week.

Last Saturday's Rutgers Media Day coincided quite nicely with the first day that members of the Rutgers Football team were allowed to hit, in full pads. Not to be mistaken with an actual scrimmage, the first day in full pads is a great opportunity to begin wearing off some of the rust accumulated during the offseason.

"It's been a good first four practices," stated Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano at last Saturday's Media Day. "Good days, we've been able to meet and walk through and practice. There's been good enthusiasm, so I'm pleased so far. We've got a long way to go, but there's effort and there's enthusiasm and guys are trying so, that part of it has been very good."

In addition to the excitement about all that's evolving on the field, the Star-Ledger's recent suggestion about a buyout clause in Schiano's contract has been the hot topic of conversation in the Garden State, and nationally. Coach Schiano addressed this issue last Saturday, flatly denying the existence of any such clause.

"There was speculation that there is some letter or an addendum to my contract that says there's a buyout [waiver] and there's no such thing. Did we talk about it? Yes. Could I have had it if I wanted? Yes. But I'm part of something bigger than just football. I'm part of Rutgers University and I thought the commitment was there so I didn't want to do things that way. When you're part of something, there has to be trust."

On the field, Media Day allowed for one on one interviews with several members of the Scarlet Knights, including George Johnson, Kenny Britt, Tiquan Underwood, Tim "Duce" Brown, and Fabian Ruiz, including several more that SOR has yet to publish.

In addition, Kordell Young has been impressive on the field, garnering accolades from his head coach. "I've been impressed," Schiano said of Young. "He did everything. It's not like we altered his [i.e., Young] work schedule or anything. Till you go live you don't know so I could be impressed again."

With Wednesday's intrasquad scrimmage behind them, both Young and Mason Robinson began to make their case for the coveted starter's role. In Wednesday's scrimmage Young had a pair of long runs including a 60 yard touchdown scamper that certainly caught the attention of the staff.

One of the positive aspects of the 2008 version of pre-season camp has been the lack of injuries. Mason Robinson was limited in late week reps, but should be fine. Dennis Campbell, who didn't participate in the scrimmage, after a tweaked hamstring, is being held out, though nothing serious is anticipated.

Damaso Munoz, who missed the entirety of this past spring rehabbing, has impressed in the early going. "Damaso (Munoz) missed the entire spring and I was concerned if he'd be ready to go at the beginning of camp," stated Schiano at last Saturday's Media Day. "He really busted his tail to be ready and he's playing well. Damaso and Ryan (D'Imperio) and in the middle of a great competition." Maso, as he's affectionately called by his teammates, has continued to progress this week, though he did leave Friday's practice session early.

There are several Scarlet Knights who are making waves through the initial half of the camp. Tim Brown has seemingly put his So. campaign behind him and earned significant praise from Schiano. "I think it's just a continuation of what all went on last spring. As long as Timmy keeps doing what he's doing. He's got a tremendous attitude and he's working hard. He needs to put some hours behind him doing things the right way. If he can log some more hours doing things the right way, you and I know what Timmy's capable of."

Alongside Brown, Brandon Jones, David Rowe, and Patrick Kivlehan have all looked good early on. The name of Kivlehan should ring a resonating bell with Rutgers fans. The former St. Joe's [Montvale, NJ] star was a late pick-up to the 2008 class, not receiving his RU offer until the day prior to signing day, in very similar fashion to former RU Safety Ron Girault. Scarlet Knight fans know all too well of the outstanding career Girault, a signing day pick-up and a St. Joe's alum as well, eventually embarked on.

In addition to Mike Teel, who will be heavily relied upon this season, Scarlet Knights fans should keep a couple of additional names in mind. Chris Paul-Etienne has distinguished himself from the other quarterbacks in the coaches' eyes and could make a jump up on the depth chart. "We're going to give him opportunities," Schiano said of Etienne. "He's kind of set himself apart from the rest of the pack to compete, so we have to give him a chance."

His most impressive characteristic aside (his fearful 6-foot-7 and 250-pound frame) D.C. Jefferson has begun showing off his cannon of an arm, impressing in this past Wednesday's intrasquad scrimmage. He hit Tim Brown in stride for a 76-yard score and Tim Wright for a 70-yard score (the previous was eventually ruled a non-score based on the sack whistle).

The recruiting blitz that was June and continued through the early part of July has slowed some, giving way to increased attention on pre-season camp. Nevertheless, last Saturday witnessed a trio of commitments, including Abdul Smith, Gerald Hodges, and Mohamed Sanu, make their way to Rutgers Stadium. In addition, Ka'Lial Glaud also made his way to Piscataway, and left impressed. "I went to Rutgers and it was much better than I expected," Glaud said. "I have them way higher on my list now than I did before the visit." SOR had the opportunity catch up with each of the trio of Scarlet Knights commitments, getting Smith's, Sanu's, and Hodges' thoughts on the day they spent at Rutgers.

Mark Brazinski, who recently put himself back on the market, received an offer from North Carolina, while Oday Aboushi, who has Rutgers at the very top of his list, has picked up another BCS offer, the latest coming by way of Virginia.

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